Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, dated October 16, 1865.
I received your kind letter of Aug 21. I am entirely satisfied with the use you made of my letter to R. H. D. I had not heard of the existence of the Nation & still less of the appearance of my letter in it, until late in August, and I have seen only the first and third numbers. It seems to me a journal of very great promise, and I trust it may prove what we have long wanted--a newspaper in which honest men need not be ashamed to write. I hope the list of names given in the third No. as contributors means not simply those who are , but those who are to write for it. I have sent today the fourth No of a series of articles on the Sovereignty of the States, & have also forwarded another contribution.
I shall now go immediately to work on an articles for the N. A. Review, which has been long begun. I hope to finish it in a few days.
The account you give of our political prospects is not very flattering, and I am very sorry to see your worst apprehensions so fully shared by the correspondent of the Daily News. His letter in the D.N. of October was quite a shock to me, even after all I had heard from you and others. I had a very good opinion of Johnson. I thought him decidedly able, unquestionably honest and of iron firmness. I cannot give him up yet, & as I do not see the evidence on which the correspondent's opinions are founded, I have much hope still.
I supposed we were safe with Congress for two years at least, and I trust that no
members for the rebel states will be admitted without a . The old
Democracy, of course, is much to be feared, and I think worse of democrats of the
Blair school than of any others of the party. The B's
exercised a most poisonous influence over Lincoln, and will continue to do mischief
as long as they have life enough to do anything. Greeley, I
hope, is weakened, if not silenced. I never see his paper, but though I must do him
the justice to say that he is not a selfish man, yet his bitterness of prejudice and
headedness, combined with a great deal of a certain kind of talent, have rendered him a very pernicious, blind leader of the blind.
Of Italy, I cannot say much, and the little I could say is not good. She is making no moral, intellectual or political progress--retrograding rather, and is not likely to advance much as long as she is forced to pay homage to the Dagon of France.
I am glad to see that Mr Adams is using strong language with England, and I hope a few months will put us in a position to use arguments stronger than words with that most selfish and corrupt government, if it does not yield the point without. I do not see what we could do with an arbitration. There is not a government, not an aristocracy, not a church, in Europe, which is not too hostile to us to be capable of saying an honest word or doing an honest act, where we are concerned. We should be decided down by the best of them, right or wrong.
I hope your health may have been restored with the approach of the autumnal air, and that I shall hear of you, through the Nation and otherwise, as actively engaged in your generous labors. I am well, and for a man of 64, strong. I walked from Chamonix to the Jardin & back in a day in August, twelve hours, exclusive of halts, & made many other eight & ten hour mountain excursions, besides coming through the Allee Blanche on foot. I can say truly I never went to bed or rose at all fatigued, and but for a rheumatic hip, I should never have felt even a half hour's weariness. The Alps seem to me to have about them more of the breath of life' than all the rest of the world.
Mrs Marsh has been extremely unwell since our arrival at Florence, and though much more comfortable, is still very weak and has alarming symptoms. I hope cool weather may strengthen her. She joins me in the kindest regard to the ladies of your family & yourself
I am, dear Sirtruly yoursGeo. P MarshC E Norton Esq
P.S. I should like to know what you & our other Italian scholars thinks of the Carte d'Arborea? I have looked very little into them [the following is written vertically in the left margin of the page beginning "Florence Oct 16' 65"] but am sceptical. I found my doubts less on the Italian than on the Catalan which I feel more competent to judge
References in this letter:
Richard Henry Dana (1787-1879) was an editor and poet, author of The Buccaneer and Other Poems, 1827. He is not to be confused with his son of the same name, who wrote Two Years Before the Mast, 1840.
The Nation was founded in 1865 by Edwin Lawrence Godkin (1831-1902), a native of Ireland who emigrated to the United States in 1856.
Marsh's five-part analysis in the Nation for 1865 of the claim to sovereignty by the individual states of the Union was called "The Sovereignty of the States" in the first installment and "State Sovereignty" thereafter.
Either "A Cheap and Easy Way to Fame" or "Old English Literature," both of which appeared in 1865 after the fourth installment of "State Sovereignty."
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.
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.
Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, as Lincoln's successor as president attempted an early reconstruction of the South that the radical Republicans in Congress considered too lenient.
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.
Horace Greeley (1811-1872), founder and editor of the New York Tribune, was opposed to the severe Reconstruction measures of the Radical Republicans.
Dagon was a god of the Philistines, characterized by Milton in Paradise Lost as half man, half fish. Some scholars believed Dagon was originally a deity in the Canaanite pantheon, and later adopted by the Philistines when they arrived in the region. Dagon sometimes seen as Dagan may or may not be the same deity. Dagan is believed to be Baal, the head of the Canaanite pantheon, and the god of corn or fertility. Whether or not it is the ssame deity is an area of debate.
Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) was American minister to Great Britain 1861-68.
Chamonix, France, lies in a mountain valley on the northern side of Mont Blanc. The Jardin de Talèfre is a 9,000-foot pinnacle located in the middle of a glacier nearby.
The Allèe Blanche is a long valley on the south, or Italian, side of Mont Blanc.
Marsh describes the Carte d'Arborea in a letter to Norton of July 2, 1866, as a collection of medieval manuscripts, possibly forged, in the library of Cambridge University.