THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                     Maurian's defense of Paul Morphy



from David Lawson's Paul Morphy: the Pride and the Sorrow of Chess:

Charles A .Maurian's letter to the New York Sun, May 2, 1877 (in response to a mention of Morphy in the April 24, 1877 issue):

     The Sun of the 24th inst. contains a repetition of the oft-told lie about the insanity of Paul Morphy - that he had not played chess for a long time, and so forth, ad nauseum. Will you have the kindness to publish the following, which contains all of the facts concerning Paul Morphy with which the public have anything to do?
     He is now practicing law in this city, and has never been insane, or spoken of in that relation by his family or friends.
     As to chess, he is unquestionably to-day the best player in the world, although he does not play often enough to keep himself in thorough practice. He gives odds of a knight to our strongest players, and is seldom beaten, perhaps never when he cares to win.
     His disappearance from the public view as a chess player has just this explanation - no more, no less.
     The publicity and lionizing which attached to him for a time, both in this country and Europe, were always distasteful to his family, and especially so to his mother.
     On his return from his European triumphs, he entered into an engagement with his mother never again to play for a money or other stake; never to play a public game or a game in a public place, and never again to encourage or countenance any publication of any sort whatever in connection with his name.
     This last clause in the agreement has heretofore been so strictly construed as to prevent any denial by him or his family of the numerous silly publications that have been made concerning him. It is now time, however, that the thing be stopped.
     Will you have the kindness to inform the public at large, and newspaper paragraphers in particular, the Paul Morphy is engaged in a strict attendance upon his own affairs, and that his family and friends do not at present adjudge him of any assistance therein.
                                                                      Very respectfully, Chas. A. Maurian