Boden's comments on the Morphy-Staunton affair that
appeared in the December 4, 1858 edition of the London Field.
Now it cannot be denied that the English, as a nation, are too
fond of finding fault with their descendants, on the score of a deficiency in
honorable conduct in their transactions between man and man. For this reason we
cannot but deplore the humiliating position into which English Chess-players
have been plunged by the proceedings of their champion, Mr. Staunton, towards
his American rival, Mr. Morphy.
This gentleman crossed the Atlantic in the most
chivalrous manner, with the determination of "trying a fall" with the European
masters of the game, and, immediately on his landing, threw down his glove to
Mr. Staunton in particular (to whom he allowed his own terms), and, in the
meantime, was ready to play all comers. Nothing could be more straight-forward
than Mr. Morphy's conduct throughout the long period of time in which has been
kept in suspense, and during which time he has displayed an amount of patience
and good temper, only to be equalled [sic] by himself when
finally engaged over the board.
On the other hand, we are driven to contemplation of
the shifts to which Mr. Staunton has been induced to resort, and which are so
ably detailed by our correspondent, "Pawn and Two," whose condemnation of them
is shared by nearly all the leading players in Paris and London. National pride
would lead us to support our own side, if we could do so without compromising
our national honor; but since it appears that in the present contest, the former
is doomed to succumb, let us guard the latter all the more carefully, and while
we pity the feelings of the individual, let us show, that as a nation, we do not
sympathize with his actions.
For him the excuse might possibly be made that he could
not afford to risk his position as the acknowledged head of English Chess; but
no apology can atone for the attitude which he has assumed toward Mr. Morphy,
from the moment that he found there was a certainty of being compelled to come
to a definite conclusion; and so far from his manoeuvers [sic] being successful, they
had quite the opposite effect. We cordially agree, therefore, with our
correspondent, that a new champion must be sought for; but we can hardly expect
to meet with a player of Mr. Morphy's strength in our hour of need, and we are
afraid that Europe, as well as England, must bow the neck to America, and
At the same time, let us cooperate with "Pawn and Two"
who himself stands high among the metropolitan players in the laudable attempt
to remove everything which tends to the disparagement of this noble game, and,
above all, let us do homage to such talent as is exhibited by Mr. Morphy,
without considering whether he is English or American.