Café de la Régence, Paris, October 6, 1858
Howard Staunton, Esq.
Sir: -- On my arrival in England, three months since, I
renewed the challenge to you personally which the New Orleans Chess Club had
given some months previously. You immediately accepted, but demanded a month's
delay, in order to prepare yourself for the contest. Subsequently, you proposed
that the time should be postponed until after the Birmingham meeting, to which I
assented. On the approach of the period you had fixed, I addressed you a
communication, requesting that the necessary preliminaries might be immediately
settled, but you left London without replying to it.
I went to Birmingham for the express purpose of asking
you to put a stop to further delay, by fixing a date for the opening of the
match; but you stated that your time was much occupied in editing a new edition
of Shakespeare, and that you were under heavy bonds to your publisher
accordingly. But you reiterated your intention to play me, and said that if I
would consent to a further postponement until the first week of November, you
would, within a few days, communicate with me and fix the exact date. I have not
heard further from you, either privately, by letter, or through the column of
the Illustrated London News.
A statement appeared in the chess department of that
Journal (the Illustrated London News) a few weeks since that "Mr. Morphy
had come to Europe unprovided with backers or seconds -- the inference being
obvious, that my want of funds was the reason of our match not taking place. As
you are the editor of that department of the Illustrated London News, I
felt much hurt that a gentleman who had always received me at his club and
elsewhere with great kindness and courtesy should allow so prejudicial a
statement to be made in reference to me; one, too, which is not strictly
consonant with fact.
In conclusion, I beg leave to state that I had
addressed a copy of this letter to the editors of the Illustrated London News,
Bell's Life in London, the Era, the Field, and the
Sunday Times; being most desirous that our true position should no longer be
misunderstood by the community at large. I again request you to fix a date for
our commencing the match.
Permit me to repeat what I have invariably declared in
every Chess community I have had the honor of entering, that I am not a
professional player -- that I never wish to make any skill I possess the means
of pecuniary advancement -- and that my earnest desire is never to play for any
stake but honor. My friends in New Orleans, however, subscribed a certain sum,
without any countenance from me, and that sum has been ready for you to meet a
considerable time past. Since my arrival in Paris I have been assured by
numerous gentlemen, that the value of those stakes can be immediately increased
to any amount, but, for myself, personally, reputation is the only incentive I
The matter of seconds cannot, certainly, offer any
difficulty. I had the pleasure of being fast received in London by the St.
George's Chess Club, of which you are so distinguished a member; and of those
gentlemen, I request the honor of appointing my seconds, to whom I give full
authority in settling all preliminaries.
In conclusion, I beg leave to state that I have
addressed a copy of this letter to several editors, being most desirous that our
true position should no longer be misunderstood by the community at large.
Again requesting you to fix the date for commencing our
I have the honor to remain, Sir,
Your very humble servant,