THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                American Chess Monthly  July, 1858

 

  

New Orleans, 27 July 1858

D. W. Fiske, Esq.

Dear Sir,
     I have received your telegraphic dispatch a few days ago. I have not given you an immediate answer because circumstances for which I was unprepared have complicated matters such to the extent, that not being able to give you at length all the necessary explanations in a telegram the whole matter been unintelligible to you. I will relate things as they actually happened.
     I had hardly received your message than I hastened to Mr. Le Carpentier, Paul's uncle and lately his tutor. I thought it my duty to see him first of all, he being at the time a chess player and deeply interested in all chess matters. I accordingly gave him the letter and after a hasty perusal of it's contents, he told me, that he could raise ten time the amount wanted, but he would not do so, as it had been 'expressly agreed' by Paul and his family that he should 'under no circumstances challenge another or accept himself a challenge to play a money match'.
     He added however that he would consult with other members of the family and that he would give me an answer today. This reception somewhat surprised me. I was unprepared for it. I had thought that he would have gladly attended to the affair and worked with the rest of us to raise for Paul the required amount.
     The agreement by which Paul pledged himself not to play a money match under any circumstances was quite new to me.
     This morning I went to see Mr. Le Carpentier. Fully comprehending the difficulty of Paul's position. I explained to him to what extremity his nephew would be reduced in the event of his not being supported after having gone so far. I gave him to understand that even if he would not meddle with the affair Paul had friends enough both here and elsewhere who were prepared to back him. (Laboring all the time under the impression that he only disapproved the match). He answered that after consulting with the rest of the family, they had resolved not only not to help raising the amount wanted, but that moreover they should not allow him to play a money match either with his own money or anybody else's. That in the event of his being in any way aided they were ready to send some responsible agent to London whose duty it would be to let Mr. Morphy know that he must either decline playing or continuing the match or that he will be brought home 'by force' if necessary; that they were determined to prevent a money match by all means. It is pretty clear that they have no right to act thus [Paul was no longer a minor].
     But I am afraid they would be as good as their word; ad if they were to carry their desperate resolution into effect it would reduce Paul to the very painful alternative of discontinuing the match or resisting the parental orders. In either case a heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of his backers.
     I need not tell you my dear sir how much I am grieved at seeing these things. My own position is one of extreme difficulty being on terms of intimacy with both Paul and his family. I have laid the matter before several members of the Club and finally have resolved to write to you and explain the whole matter.
I have given you these particulars but of course on account of Paul would not desire them to be known.
I rely on entirely upon your judgment and discretion. I would ask you in particular not to mention Mr. Le Carpentier's name and avoid as much as possible using mine. I am trying in all this to do what is best. If you should have any suggestion to make a few words from you would be acceptable. In conclusion I would beg you to believe that were it not for this unexpected difficulty the 500 would be very soon raised and forwarded. Please write to Paul as soon as possible, if I knew his address I would gladly do so myself.

                                                                               Yours Truly,
                                                                                        Chas. A. Maurian

 

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