THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                Letter from Charles A. Maurian - December  5, 1875


A letter from Charles A. Maurian published in the Watertown, N.Y. Re-Union


New Orleans, Dec. 5, 1875

My Dear Sir:
     It is unfortunately true that Mr. Morphy's mind has been deranged of late but not to the extent that the New York Sun would have us believe; for I fervently hope that the kind attention of his family will in time result in a complete cure. I noticed that the kind attention of his family will in time result in a complete cure. I noticed some time ago some extraordinary statements he made of petty persecutions directed against him by unknown persons, that there was something wrong about him, but after a while he openly accused some well known persons of being the authors of the persecutions, and insisted upon their giving him proper satisfaction by arms. Thus it is that the matter was noised about. Outside of the persecution question, he remains what his friends and acquaintances have always known him to be, the same highly educated and pleasing conversationalist.
     An attempt was made to induce him to remain in the "Louisiana Retreat, " an institution for the treatment of insane persons, but he objected and expounded to all concerned the law that governed his case and drew certain conclusions with such irrefutable logic that his mother thought, and in my opinion very properly, that his case did not demand, such extreme measures as depriving him of his liberty, and took him home.
     He has been very quiet of late and seems to have been impressed with the remark of some good friends about his "persecution mania." I met him some days ago and the objectionable subject not having been broached, he was as rational and pleasant in his conversation as anybody else.
     Since somewhere about 1864 or 65 Mr. Morphy has had a certain aversion to chess. (Indeed he never was, strange at it may seem, an enthusiast.) This was caused, no doubt, by his being constantly bored to death by all sorts of persons who thought it a nice thing to play a game with the champion of the world or to ask him in how many moves he could force mate in a fame, or what was the best way to open a game, or to be kind enough to solve this or that problem &c, to say nothing of the mountains of stupid letters he was called upon to read. At that time he told me very frankly that he was going to abandon completely everything in the shape of public chess. But he consented to play with me as often as I should like. After this he went to Europe and on his return, observing that he only played with me to please me, I ceased to impose this species of penance on him. Our last games were in 1869 in the month of December.
     It is an error to suppose that Mr. Morphy is an idler. He is engaged in no particular business, it is true, but he is fond of literature, an enlightened admirer of the fine arts, a great lover of books and he loves study. He is rather of sedentary habits (a great deal too much so), his tastes and habits are eminently refined, and his deportment is always gentlemanly; I may say aristocratic. He was a regular frequenter of the opera, that is, when our city was rich enough to support one, and he was able to appreciate the beauties of music and to understand and feel and profit by the elevating influences of the works of Mozart, Rossini and Meyerbeer and other great masters. I assure you, my dear sir, it will be a pity indeed if disease impairs permanently such a powerful brain, such a splendid mental organization, one so well stocked, too, with learning and varied information.

very truly yours, Charles A. Maurian            



Very truly yours                            
Charles A. Maurian