THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                          Morphy's letter to Staunton, October 6, 1858



                         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 recognize.
     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 match,
                                                I have the honor to remain, Sir,
                                                      Your very humble servant,
                                                              Paul Morphy