Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated August 14, 1862.
I suppose you are by this time back at Florence, though I have not heard of your
return. I have received two pamphlets on water-glass in German. I believe some of your young folks read German,
& they will be able to translate as much of them as you wish. If the half of
what is said of water-glass be true, it is worth more than fluid gold, weight for
weight. I send the pamphlets by
mail. I send, also, a copy of my First Series of lectures on English. The Second Series is to be published in London, on the 15' of September, at which time I must be on the spot. I shall furnish you with a copy of that also, but mind, you aren't obliged to read any more of this dreary stuff than you choose.
Per contra. To compensate for this heavy-wet matter I forward also Mrs Marsh's rhymes, which I think deserve a better
success than they have had. The translations, at least, I
can vouch for as excellent.
After I saw you, we went to Cormayeur at the foot of Mount Blanc. Mrs M. was
confined to her bed all the time we stayed there, but on the way back, she climbed
to the height of about 9000 feet near Aosta. After this, she was sick again, several
days, at St Vincent. When she got a little better, we started for an excursion, but
she broke down, & we had to return to St Vincent. After two days we made
another attempt, and crossed the Col de Jon and the Col de Ranzola to Germany, went
up to the Lys glacier, and then crossed the Col d'Ollen, 9600 feet high to
Alagna. Mrs M went partly on mules, & partly in a chair carried by men. This last was a hard job but we are going into the mountains again, probably on Monday, for a couple of weeks. I think Mrs M. will stay in Switzerland while I go to London--.
Bad news from America, but I never doubted that McClellan would be beaten. We shall never win a victory until we make a human sacrifice to Justice. If the people would rise and hang old Buchanan, and Peirce and McClellan, & a few more, we might do something, but Providence will never be on our side till we punish some of the wicked.
Yours trulyG. P. Marsh
H Powers Esq.
[The following appears at the top of the page beginning "Turin Aug. 14 62"] P.S. I find I cannot send Mrs M's book just now, not having a copy at hand at the hotel where, since we were turned out of doors, we are stopping.
References in this letter:
Water glass is a chemical compound, usually sodium silicate, which, when dissolved in water, forms a colorless, syrupy liquid often used as a protective coating.
Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, a revision of lectures he had delivered at Columbia University in the winter of 1858-1859, was published in 1860; revised editions appeared in 1861,1872, and 1885.
Marsh's The Origin and History of the English Language, and of the Early Literature It Embodies, was published in 1862; a revised edition appeared in 1885.
Caroline Crane Marsh's Wolfe of the Knoll, and Other Poems, a collection of poems inspired by German literature and her travels in the Middle East, was published in 1860.
General George B. McClellan's campaign to capture Richmond from the south by advancing up the peninsula between the York and James rivers, which began in early April 1862, came to an inglorious end in the Seven Days' battles of June 25-July 1. By the middle of August McClellan began to withdraw his troops from the peninsula.