THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                                Edge to Fiske




Frederick Milns Edge's letter to Daniel Willard Fiske November 11, 1859

                                                                 151 Cambridge St.,
                                       Pimlico, London
November 11, 1859  

Dear Fiske,

   I have just received my copy of the "Book of the Congress" and desire to thank you for the reference you make to me in the Preface. The notice of my book on page 500 is "altogether curious." You seem conscience-pricked for the damning critique in the
Monthly, and, taking the book out of hell, put it in purgatory.
   Your dough is now mixed with a little less of the "leaven of unrighteousness, "but, still, this "little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." When Morphy revisited London, he made the English players cognizant of our falling-out. Of course these parties would necessarily side with the hero against poor me, and I was not going to defend myself for then I should have had to break down what I had labored for months to build up. One day, I met Boden, who, to my astonishment, shook me by the hand as warmly as ever.
"What!" said I, "haven't you seen Morphy?." "Ah yes," he replied, "several times, but why?" "Because he can't have said anything to you." "Ah!," says Boden, "I see what you mean. I have heard a good deal, but all I know is, I have received nothing but kindness
from you, and whatever is said goes in one ear and out of the other." Now Fiske, I need not tell you of the obligations under which all chess players, and especially all American chess players, are to me; and, if from no nobler motive, at all events from self-respect, you ought not to have made yourself a partisan against me. Look at your own words on page 316 of the no. for October 1858.
   When I read that cruel notice in the Monthly I sent you a communication which, in the heat of offended pride, I threatened to publish as a vindication of myself. Cooler judgment has shown me that it is nobler to suffer. Besides, I do not envy your feelings, and, above all, do I not envy Morphy's. His southern pride may, for the moment, over-power generosity, but conscience must, sooner or later, torture him for returning malevolence for kindness. When flatterers cease to charm him, he will come to one who never flattered; and he will form a low opinion of those who abetted him against one who, in spite of any former difference, proved himself one of the best, if not the best, friend he ever had.
   History neither lies nor forgets. Nobody could chronicle Paul Morphy's feats in future ages without giving me my due. All French and English players know this, and the Germans, too, through Anderssen and Mayet. Besides, I shall at some future time through my own individual exertions reflect glory upon Morphy, and what I say will be received as authoritative. It will not always be "Edge, Morphy's friend," but "Morphy, Edge's." Voltaire was enthroned by Frederick of Prussia; he was Voltaire nevertheless, but Frederick crowned him. Mark my words, Fiske! If not a Virgil in chess, I shall one day be its Macaenas. This only requires these qualifications - energy, wealth, power. The first you know I possess, and the others will be shortly mine. Then, all of you will come and make your peace with me.
   I requested the Appletons to hand you a number of copies of my book for the principal members of the Congress. I have never received any acknowledgment from
one of them. Can you explain this to me, Fiske? I do hope you will answer this letter and tell whether they are all silent intentionally, and why. Will you find time to write a few lines in return for all the notes I have sent you during so many months?
   Staunton is again at his old, dirty tricks. See last no. of Ill. Lon. News. I am writing a small bit of my mind to Bells Life on the subject.

                                                                     Trusting to hear from you shortly,

I remain,                 
Dear Fiske,                
Yours very truly               

Fred. Edge, Esq              

P.S. 10 November 1859

I have got through the Book of the C. and am astonished at the vast amount of information it contains. There seems to be nothing omitted which could be contained in such a book. Three years instead of two would not have been too much for it. The English papers received it in high terms.



This text was transcribed by historybuff at from Chess Facts & Fables by Edward Winter