Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated July 22, 1861.
I have just learned, with some surprise, that Robert M. Walsh, Sec. of Legation at Paris under the late base and traitorous administration, and now residing at Florence, has been appointed Consul for the U.S. at Leghorn, most probably by the influence of Acbp Hughes.
I have met Mr Walsh only once or twice, and have no personal knowledge of him, no
ill will towards him, but I was assured by a credible
person at Paris, who had for months good opportunities of observation, that Walsh's property or rather that of his wife, was situated or invested in North Carolina, that his opinions and sympathies were wholly on the side of the rebels, that he openly and noisily defended and approved the legal and moral right of secession, and that he loudly condemned the principles and purposes of the Republican party and of the President, as indicated by his inaugural.
It was added also, that he is an open and violent opponent of the present policy of
the Italian government, an enemy to Italian Unity, and a
partisan of the late King of Naples, the Pope and the Austrians.
Leghorn, as you know, is a most important point, and if, as we have reason to fear, a system of piracy shall be organized under the Confederate flag, in the Mediterranean, it is a matter of the highest consequence that we have at Leghorn not only a loyal consul, but a vigilant & active officer.
You may perhaps know something of Mr Walsh's political position, and if these
charges are known to you to be well founded, or if you think there is probable cause
of suspicion against him, you will do me a
great favor, and render a service to our country, by writing, , (which you may do confidentially) to Secretaries Seward, or Chase, or any influential senator you may know. The nomination may be still pending when your letter arrives, & it may be of great service.
I hope to see you at Florence during The Exposition of September, & to find you & family prosperous & well. Mrs Marsh is rather better than when you saw her last, but still an invalid. She joins me in kind regards to you all, as well as in the expression of deep regret for the death of Mrs Browning, and of sincere sympathy with her husband.
Very truly yoursGeorge P. Marsh
Hiram Powers Esq
References in this letter:
Robert M. Walsh was U.S. consul at Leghorn (Livorno) until removed from his position by President Lincoln because of his Southern sympathies, after which he settled in Florence.
Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873), U.S. Secretary of the Treasury 1861-64, had sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 1860 and allowed himself to be put foward as Lincoln's rival for the nomination in 1864, a move which prompted Lincoln to remove him from his post. Later the same year Chase was appointed Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.