Letter from CHARLES ELIOT NORTON to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 25, 1870.

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Publication InformationVilla Spannocchi, Siena.Aug. 25, 1870.

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My dear Mr. Marsh

I am grieved to hear of Miss Crane's illness, and of the anxiety for her which accompanies your return to Florence. My mother, my sisters & my wife all desire me to send to Mrs. Marsh & to you the assurance of their most cordial sympathy & regard.

It is a disappointment to us that you cannot come to Siena. We had counted much upon the pleasure of seeing you.

So far as regards the taking acknowledgment of my Mother's signature to the deed, I believe that the Secretary of Legation would serve as well as yourself. The object is to have the acknowledgment taken by

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an officer of the United States, whose signature & seal can be proved in court. If, consequently, you could spare Mr. Wurts for a day, & he would do me the great favour of coming to Siena, I should be very truly obliged both to yourself & to him. It would be desirable, if he can come, that he should bring with him, if possible, one of the seals of the Legation. -- I would not thus press the matter were it not that the time for the delivery of the deed is fixed at an early date in September, and the property conveyed by it is of considerable importance.


I wish that circumstances had been propitious for your remaining in Paris to see to the end the tremendous drama of war & revolution

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begun with such arrogant "light-heartedness" by the French, and to close with such bitter humiliation for them. If the Prussians know how to use aright their marvellous success,--and if they be content with terms of peace that shall not be an opening of sources of future heartburning & war,--with terms of real peace that is, they will render an immense service to Europe. The destruction of the Napoleonic prestige, the overthrow of the dynasty, and the exposure of the weakness of the system of standing armies are three great benefits to mankind.


Hoping that you may be able to send us better news of your niece's health before long, and with my best respects & regards to

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Mrs. Marsh, I remain,

Faithfully Yours.

References in this letter:

Caroline Crane Marsh had several nieces as companions at various times in Italy. The one here mentioned is called "Ellen" in a letter by George Perkins Marsh on May 24, 1871.

George Washington Wurts, of Philadelphia, was Marsh's Secretary of Legation in Italy for many years.

The Franco-Prussian war, which lasted from July 1870 to January 1871, was ended by the treaty of Frankfurt, which was ratified on May 23. A humiliating defeat for the French, it resulted in the deposition of Napoleon III, the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, the creation of the French Third Republic and of a united Germany dominated by Prussia.