Frederick Milns Edge's letter to Daniel Willard Fiske
August 6, 1858
from David Lawson's Paul
Morphy: the Pride and the Sorrow of Chess, pp. 108-110
On August 6, Edge began a letter to Fiske concerning the Löwenthal match:
At the commencement, before in fact the match had begun,
Morphy bet Lowe that Löwenthal would not score 5 games, and it now stands
M.7 -- L.2 -- Drawn 1, leaving 2 games for Morphy to gain to pocket the
100 Spondulicks. I need not send the games inasmuch as you will find them
in the Illustrated London News, accompanied by those mean, sneaking notes,
which have constituted Staunton the "Chess Pariah" of the London world
. . . After the second game, which Morphy won, the first being a
"draw", the Rev. John Owen, alias "Alter" who is one of Morphy's seconds,
came up to Löwenthal and said to him in my hearing "Never mind, one
swallow don't make a summer." This reverend gent . . . is more
inimical to Morphy than any man in London. God knows how he became
Morphy's second; Morphy did not choose him. After each game Löwenthal
lost, he would come to Morphy and tell him that he had won by L.'s
oversight, and that he had played much below his strength, or he would not
beat him. Morphy has become so disgusted by his ungentlemanly conduct, and
thickheaded observations on the games, that he has challenged him to a
match, giving him odds of Pawn & Move, and this may probably come off,
before the match with Staunton . . .
But Owen states that he does not look upon the result
of the match with Löwenthal as conclusive of Morphy's superiority, nor
does he think that Morphy having gained of himself 4 out of 5 offhand
games, in which Owen took an average of ¼ hour to a move prove anything,
and that he wishes to play two matches simultaneously with him, one
at even, one at Pawn & move - alternate games . . .
Staunton has shown his willingness to play after the
Birmingham meeting by allowing a committee to form in his favor at the St.
George's, to raise funds to back him &c. but if Owen can make a match with
Morphy at even, Staunton will be justified in saying" "I have made every
preparation to play, but Mr. Morphy's procedure has prevented my doing so.
Mt. Morphy plays Mr. Owen even, - I give Mr. Owen Pawn and Move. Mr.
Morphy playing Mr. Owen even, must also accept Pawn and Move from me."
Paul Morphy very properly will not consent to pay him [Owen], therefore,
even, and Lord Arthur Hay backs him up in such determination. This
nobleman, a splendid looking officer in the Queen's Guards, and a member
of St. George's is much taken with Morphy and always comes to his
assistance when such jealous devils and Owen & Co. are besetting him. You
may rely upon the match coming off with Staunton in September.
The same letter continues, under the date August 13:
The Rev, John Owen (alias "Alter") consented to play the
match at Pawn and Move on Tuesday last [August 10]; the terms being the
winner of the first five games (5) for a set of Ivory Staunton Men. If
Owen won, Morphy to play him afterwards even; if the contrary, Morphy to
give him Pawn and two. Staunton gives Own Pawn and one, and loses
the majority of games, and the impression was at St. George's that no man
could give him these odds in a match. The first game Morphy won in 18
moves, time 2½ hours, whereof Owen took 2 hours. The second game was
drawn, after 6 hours play; the 3rd and 4th were both won by Morphy,
leaving Owen at Zero. This is considered Morphy's greatest performance
since his arrival in Europe, and the folks at the St. George's believe now
that Alter will not get a game. The match is resumed tomorrow [August 14];
when it will probably be finished [it was].
Morphy had not played anyone during the continuance of
his match with the Hungarian [up to August 6]. We have been constantly
together, and have seen most of the sights in London. I look particularly
after his health, which I am happy to say is capitally good: his nerve is
excellent, and I think he is at least a pawn and move stronger than when
he played here at first, for he was then somewhat fatigued from his
Lawson, p.112: "In his composite August 6 and 13 letter to
Fiske, Edge reaffirms his own confidence that the match [Morphy-Staunton]
You may rely upon the match coming off with Staunton in
September, and Morphy is too much a diplomatist to commit any faux pas,
which may give Staunton a loop-hole to escape . . .
You can state positively that the match between
Staunton and Morphy for £500
a side will commence the first week in September; the sorer of the first
eleven games to be the winner.