New Orleans, 27 July 1858
D. W. Fiske, Esq.
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
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.
Chas. A. Maurian