Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, dated April 22, 1867.

Primary tabs

Page: of 6
Download: PDF (6.87 MiB)
Download: JP2 (232 KiB)
Publication InformationFlorence Apl 22 67

Page 1

Dear Sir

I have received your obliging letter of Mch 20' and am glad that you think my article on Cantù worth printing. When I wrote it, I had not access to Müller's First series, & I perceive, now that I have consulted it, that my statement of his views requires a little correction. About the 27' or 28' page, I introduced a quotation from Müller's, second series pp 275-6, & then produced [proceeded] to state the difference between Müller & Cantù thus:

[Text shown in italics is enclosed in boxes]

Please correct this by inserting after classical Latin this qualification, in its incorrect popular form, Again, on the next page, for: Cantù makes the old

Page 2

unwritten vernacular the basis Read Cantù makes an old unwritten vernacular dialect the basis of of modern Italian Further, on the same page for: abnormally developed from classical Latin Read: abnormally developed from classical Latin as popularly spoken, Also, same page, for normally developed from the or popular speech Read: normally developed from the or vernacular dialect

Page 3

I never doubted that you and Lowell would bring the North American to the high position you aimed at & so far as I can judge by what I see and hear about it, it is now recognised almost universally as first among American, and second to none among European periodicals. I wish I could write political articles for it but that seems not allowable at present. I trust the Nation may be a financial success, but without an advertising patronage like that of the Atheneum, I fear it never will. It is getting a very good reputation in Europe, & literary advertisers at least ought to make it their medium.

I send you a No of the Nazione with the judgment--just & merciful--on Persano. I wish the nation had courage and manhood enough to rid itself of L[...] in the same way. The Italie published here in French daily is, for the moment, the best Italian journal, & keeps one fairly up with the political movement. As to literature archaeology c in Italy one must look to France or England for information. There is no newspaper in Italy which would be

Page 4

considered worth taking elsewhere, though the Diritto has a good deal of talent.

What you say of the change of opinion in N. E. on the Tariff question is very curious & interesting. The protectionists seem, as if in answer to the prayers of the free traders, to be judicially smitten with "more madness". What a bill of abominations that last was to have been! And what a shame the petition of the for protection.

There is much excitement in Italy in regard to the possible war between France & Prussia. Italy is, I fear not wise enough to keep out of the struggle, and there is much danger that she will be drawn in on the wrong side. The peace establishment is too much for the finances, & with a debt of about $1000,000,000 & few resources, I do not see how she could stagger through a war.

Page 5

I have little doubt of the ultimate emancipation, political and religious, of Italy, but I do not expect it to be accomplished as soon as I had hoped. The influences of French Imperialism and native aristocracy together is quite too great to admit of rapid moral progress among a people destitute of moral courage. I hoped to be allowed to accompany Mrs Marsh to Paris for further surgical aid this summer, but I have now no expectation of being able to obtain leave. She was much improved by her former visit but needs continued treatment.

Whenever it is convenient the publisher of the N A Review will oblige me by remitting the compensation for my article to Sen. George F. Edmunds U S Senate Burlington Vermont on my account

Mrs Marsh joins me in sincere regards to the ladies of your family and

Page 6

to yourself. My best compliments to Lowell & Child, the latter of whom I wish joy in his Percy.

Cannot anything be done in the U S for the E. E. Text Society?

I do not remember whether I mentioned in a former letter D'Azeglio's Memorie, & his correspondence with Rendu. All deductions made, they are very interesting and will be useful

Very truly yoursGeo P MarshC E Norton Esq

References in this letter:

Marsh's "The Origin of the Italian Language," a 42-page review of Cesare Cantu's Sull' origine della lingua italiana, 1865, and other works, appeared in the North American Review for July 1867.

Friedrich Max Müller (1823-1900) delivered the lectures that made up the first series of his Science of Language in 1861. An Italian translation is in Marsh's library.

Friedrich Max Müller's Lectures on the Science of Language, second series, 1864, is in Marsh's library.

Several books by the French philologist Maximilien Paul mile Littr‚ (1801-1881), including Dictionnaire de la langue française (1863-72), are in Marsh's library.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), poet, critic, and professor at Harvard, was editor, with with Norton, of the North American Review1863-72.

Marsh wrote many articles for the Nation, a weekly journal of politics, literature, and the arts founded by Edwin Lawrence Godkin in 1865.

Count Carlo Pellione di Persano (1806-1883), commander of the Italian fleet, was defeated by the Austrians in 1866 and deprived of his rank by the Italian senate in 1867.

France and Prussia did eventually go to war in 1870-71.

George F. Edmunds was appointed U.S. Senator to replace the deceased Solomon Foot on April 5, 1866. He won a full term the following fall and served in the Senate until 1891.

Francis James Child (1825-1896), philologist and professor at Harvard, was an authority on the ballad.

Professor Francis James Child assisted in the creation of a work on Bishop Thomas Percy (1729-1811) the poet and author of ballads and romances in 1867.

The Early English Text Society was founded in 1864 for the publication of Early and Middle English texts.

Massimo Taparelli, marchese d'Azeglio (1798-1866), was active in the drive for the unification of Italy.