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         The History and The Culture of Chess

The National Era
June 2005
The National Era was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in the District of Columbia from Jan. 7, 1847 until March 22, 1860.
It's editor was Dr. Gamaliel Bailey, Jr. 
John Greenleaf Whittier served as an associate editor.
One of it's primary stated purposes was to discuss the Question of Slavery, but it wasn't limited to such a narrow topic.

The Era was a mixture of anecdotes, poems, letters, short stories, bulletins, notations and transcripts collected and written by persons within the United States and foreign countries.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was exclusively serialized in the National Era. Within it's 4 pages, 7 columns per page, the National Era offered both original material and excerpts from larger newspapers.

I searched the National Era database for Paul Morphy and found the following:
     (the newspaper scans were OCR'd by the source. I copied and pasted the text "as is")
November 19, 1857
Vol. XI No. 568 P. 185

Mr. Morphy, the champion chess player, it is said, will challenge Europe through the New York Chess Club, to produce a man to play with him, next spring, in New York, for from one to five thousand dollars.

March 18, 1858
Vol. XII No. 585 P. 43

Paul Morphy, of New Orleans, the king of American chess players, has challenged Howard Stanton, chess editor of the London Illustrated News, who is considered the king of European chess players, to visit New Orleans, and engage in a tilt with him for $5,000 a side. If Mr. Stanton
[sic] loses, he is to be allowed $1,000 to pay his expenses.
July 29, 1858
Vol. XII No. 604 P. 119


Mr. Morphy, who arrived out by the Africa, quietly walked into the St. George's chess club one night last week, and, after beating Mr. Lewen, [sic] who is a recognised [sic] champion, with the greatest ease, offered a challenge to Mt. Staunton, the British Coeur de Leon of the noble game. Mr. Staunton accepted the proposition, sat down, went to work, almost cleared the board in some twenty moves, and was shout withdrawing in contempt, when he was arrested by a “check,” which in three moves more grew into a “mate.” You may imagine the consternation of the hero and of the lookers-on. “May I ask your name, sir?” said Mr. S. “Certainly, sir,” replied his young antagonist; “my name is Morphy.” “Oh! of America?” “Yes, sir.” “Ah, then! I am sorry, but I am not quite in play just now. I should rather not risk another game just at present.” And so Mr. Staunton withdrew. The event has excited quite as great sensation in the world of chess as was bred in the world of yachtsmen by the victory of the America; and Mr. Morphy has made up a match with Andersen, the Hungarian, upon which all England that playeth chess will, of course, be vehemently betting in the course of a fortnight. You may regard this as a set-off, perhaps, against the defeat of Mr. Ten Broeck's horses, though it should be remembered that the battle, even there, is not yet given up. - London Times.

September 16, 1858
Vol. XII No. 611 P. 147


Mr. Morphy, the American chess-player, had played eight games blindfolded, at one time, at the Birmingham Chess Congress, winning all but one.

September 30, 1858
Vol. XII No. 613 P. 155


The ship Ann had arrived from Australia, with nearly $2,000,000 value in gold.
Mr. Morphy, the famous chess player, was beaten at Paris by M. Hanwitz.
The forcible abduction by the Roman inquisition at Bologne of Jewish child, under the pretence that it had been baptized secretly by a nurse, had created a painful sensation throughout the Jewish world. The Jews of London have taken the matter up.

October 7, 1858
Vol. XII No. 614 P. 159

The way in which Harwitz
[sic] beat Morphy at chess, in Paris, is described as follows, in an English paper:
[sic] won first move, and proposed to play the 'King's gambit,' which the Yankee accepted. Morphy sacrificed a knight for a terrific attack, which, with an inferior antagonist, must have succeeded. Harwitz [sic] made a firm defence, [sic] and remained after the shock with queen and four pawns to queen and one. By admirable manoeuvring, the Prussian succeeded in enforcing an exchange of queens, which decided Morphy to resign.”
October 14, 1858
Vol. XII No. 615 P. 164


The great chess match between Germany and America, between M. Harrwitz, of Prussia, and Mr. Paul Morphy, of the United States, is now  going on in Paris at the Café de la Régence, in the Rue St. Honoré, the headquarters of the lovers of this scientific game. The match is to be won by the gainer of the first seven games. Harrwitz gained the first two games; Mr. Morphy gained the three next. In the third and fourth games Mr. Morphy made some of the most brilliant and startling moves that had ever been seen in the Cafe de la Régence, and so great was the enthusiasm that telegraphic despatches [sic] were sent to the Rhine, to Méry, to the Duke of Brunswick, and other great players, begging them to come and see the wonder of the world. Notwithstanding the watering season, when all the fashion is supposed at least to be out of town, the Café de la Régence is the scene of a crowd, or rather a mob, of distinguished men, and even women, of all nationalities and all tongues. It is believed that Morphy will beat Harrwitz, though it is not by any means sure, and, in that case, he becomes the champion of the world, for no man in Europe can beat Harrwitz. Harrwitz is 27 years old, Morphy but 22. Morphy plays much faster than  Harrwitz, and in fact, faster than any adversary he has yet met in Europe, and the boldness and originality of his moves strike the lookers-on with amazement and admiration.
A gentleman now in Paris writes as follows:
“The greatest of living French sculptors, Lequesne, the pupil and successor of Pradier, has asked Morphy to sit to him for his bust in marble. Morphy gave him the first sitting yesterday. The bust will be exhibited at the Expo-position des Beaux Arts. This is, I think, the highest honor Morphy has as yet received. But I can assure you they treat him here like a god. He dines with his Royal Highness the Duke of Brunswick on Sunday. The other night, at the Theatre Français, half the audience stood up and looked at him - he perfectly unconscious until it was pointed out to him. Everybody seeks introductions to him, and the old players of the time of Labourdonnais, treat him with the greatest reverence.”
After finishing his match with Harrwitz, Mr. Morphy will proceed directly to Berlin and Breslau, to meet Anderssen, Lange, and Mayet, Breslau, to meet Anderssen, Lange, and Mayet, who, with Von der Lasa, are at present the greatest exponents of the German chess. It is a matter of much regret, both to Mr. Morphy and his admirers, that the diplomatic duties of Von der Lasa who in Prussian Minister at Rio Janeiro) preclude the possibility of bringing about a meeting between these distinguished players. The last Illustrated News of London gives a portrait and life of Mr. Morphy, together with the eight games played blindfolded by him at the Birmingham meeting.

October 21, 1858
Vol. XII No. 616 P. 167


France. - Napoleon has returned from Branitz, and was about to visit the Chalons camp. The fortress at Vincennes is to be enlarged. eighty  millions of francs are needed to complete Cherbourg.
The Prince Napoleon met with a distinguished reception from the Emperor Alexander.
A grand review took place on the 1st inst. at Paris, in presence of the Emperor and Empress. The troops consisted of ten battalions of the  Imperial Guard, amounting to 6,000 men. Their Majesties were received with great enthusiasm, both by the military and the people.
The Moniteur contains a decree extending to the 30th of September, next year, the decree of September, 1857, relative to the importation of foreign grain.
Mr. Morphy, the American chess-player, had been astonishing the Parisians by repeating his extraordinary performance of playing eight games with eight separate players at one and the same time, without seeing the boards. Mr. Morphy won six of the games, and the other two were drawn. The play lasted for ten hours, during which time Mr. Morphy never took the slightest refreshment, and at the conclusion he did not appear to be much fatigued.

November 11, 1858
Vol. XII No. 619 P. 179


Porter's Spirit says:
“We are glad to see the proposition for a reception to Paul Morphy, when he shall return to this country from Europe, has been received with universal favor, and the chess players of this city and Brooklyn intend to take the thing in charge. Mr. Morphy will not probably be able to return much before the Christmas holydays, as his meetings with Anderssen, Her Von der Lasa, Napoleon III, and Staunton, if the latter can be crowded into it, will consume the best portion of November and December.”

November 18, 1858
Vol. XII No. 620 P. 183

Miscellaneous. - The chess-players of Manchester propose to invite Mr. Morphy to a public dinner previous to his departure for America.

March 31, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 639 P. 51


But chess match was progressing at Paris, Morphy playing against Mongradin [sic], the President of the London club. Four games had been played, Morphy winning all. The winner of the first seven games to be victor.

May 19, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 646 P. 79

PAUL MORPHY, THE AMERICAN CHESS KING. This gentleman, previous to leaving New York for New Orleans, will visit Boston, where a public dinner has been tendered him. Hon. Edward Everett, Jared Sparks, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and other distinguished citizens of the modern Athens, will make addresses on the occasion. Mr. Morphy, at present, is somewhat prostrated from the effects of his voyage. The Post says:

"Mr. Morphy spent a couple of hours at the rooms of the New York Chess Club on Wednesday evening, and played four or five games, at the odds of a knight, with Mr. F. Perrin, one of the strongest players in this country, and easily won all the games but one. Telegrams have been received from all parts of the country, to know what route Mr. Morphy will take on his way home to New Orleans, so that arrangements can be made for his proper reception. At the urgent solicitation of his friends, Mr. Morphy has determined to play no more blindfold games. The testimonials from his friends here will be presented to him in about two weeks."

June 2, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 648 P. 86

BOSTON, May 26, 1859.

To the Editor of the National Era:

Since my last, the opera has engrossed a considerable part of the attention of pleasure considerable part of the attention of pleasure goers, continuing on Friday eve with Lucrezia Borgin, with Mme. Gazzaniga and Sig. Stefani, and to the manifest satisfaction of the large audience. Stefani, as a singer, excels Sbriglia, but has not the smoothness and flexibility of Brignoli, although his fine acting and careful attention to his  role makes him an acceptable artist on the stage. Saturday, the opera of "Martha" was repeated at a matinee with satisfaction, Sbriglia  appearing much better than on the opening night, and rose fifty per cent. in the opinions of his hearers. Monday night, the opinions of his hearers. Monday night, La Favorita," of which the last act was excellent, the rest not very brilliant. Tuesday eve, "Norma," which I did not attend, but heard it was well spoken of. Wednesday night, "Don Giovanni," which was well rendered. Formes, with his perfect personification and spirited action, at times convulsing the audience with laughter, and at others almost freezing them with terror, was enough to make it, well listened to; but, as yet, "Lucrezia" has been the gem, and the poisoning and death scenes the best of all- Gazzaniga, with her purity and freshness of voice, and impassioned declamation, electrifying the audience. I cannot see as her voice is less fresh than when I heard her two years since in Philadelphia, where, in "Traviatta," she earned laurels. The "De Molays," returned from their Southern tour on Tuesday P.M., and were escorted by two bands of music through the principal streets to their lodge. The streets were lined with people to note their return and the knightly bearing of the "Templars." This is "Anniversary Week," and the city is full of strangers; and, what is almost unprecedented, they have very fine weather for their exercise, and all is going in to the satisfaction of all concerned, I suppose, but my limited space will prevent my giving a report of their proceedings in detail.
Paul Morphy comes to Boston on Saturday, to stay a week, the guest of the Boston Chess Club; to have a public dinner, at which Dr.  Holmes is to preside- "a limited number of tickets for sale at $10 per ticket, the purchasers being admitted to the club-rooms during his stay."
We have had three days of fine weather, and a fine prospect for another to-morrow. Hoping for many, (for we are entitled to them to make an average.) I remain, &c.
June 9, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 649 P. 90


The Exploits and Triumphs in Europe of Paul Morphy, the Chess Champion; including an Historical Account of Clubs, Biographical Sketches o' Famous Players, and various Information and Anecdote relating to the Noble Game of Chess. By Paul Morphy's Late Secretary.    New York: D. Appleton & Co., 316 and 318 Broadway. 1859. For sale as above.

With a modesty as rare as it is commendable, the author of this work sinks his own individuality in that of the great Paul. He himself is by implication, as the immortal Toots remarks, "of no consequence;" but as the Secretary of the Chess Champion, the conqueror of two worlds, he rises into comparative importance. He is content to shine by a reflected light. When the Great Western spreads all her canvas and puts out to sea, he quietly lets

-"His little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale

But by so much as he sacrifices self, by so much does he exalt Paul. The book is a transcript of victories. Veni, vidi, (sometimes!) vici, may be Morphy's motto. Staunton, the English champion, concluded discretion to be the better part of valor, and shilly-shallied himself out of the appointed contest. Harwitz believed that

"He who fights and run away,
May live to fight another day

and obeyed the instinct of self-preservation Anderssen suffered himself to be annihilated with Teutonic nonchalance and Christian resignation; and Paul Morphy and his Squire have come home, loaded with honors from priest, and people, and peer, and princess, to receive silver chess-boards and golden men, and live in golden houses, and eat from golden dishes, for aught we know, through the remainder of their natural lives. Wherefore, if any one can show just cause why Paul Morphy should not forthwith be made President of these United States, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

August 18, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 659 P. 130

THE WEALTHY PEOPLE OF NEW ORLEANS. - The New Orleans Delta publishes a list of all the tax payers of that city, who pay over $500 tax to the corporation. The rate of taxation is 1 1/2 per cent. We subjoin a few of the largest individual payers: Madame de Pontelba, $8,199; Paul Tulane, $3136; H. M. Shiff, $4,792; Jacob L. Florence, $4,710; W. N. Mercer, $4,630; H. S. Buckner, $3,970; W. H. Montgomery, $3,900; John Haskins, $3,645; John Slidell, $3,399; Mrs. A. Morphy, $1,402; Mrs. J. B. Eustis, $1,052; D. B. Morphy, $531.

February 23, 1860
Vol. XIV No. 686 P. 31


The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection; or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. By Charles Darwin, M.A.
New York; D. Appleton & Co. 1860.

This is but an abstract of a larger work on that much-vexed question, “The Origin of Species,” in course of preparation by Mr. Darwin. His theory is, that “we need not go in search of any other causes than those which are at present in action for an explanation of the phenomena exhibited to us in the present distribution and past succession of life upon the globe; a principle of change being still at work, the continuous operation of which, through the countless ages of geological time, is sufficient to account for the production, from a small number of original types, of a vast multiplicity of diversified forms, succeeding one another by natural descent, and undergoing progressive changes, in accordance with the alterations progressively taking place in the external conditions of their existence.”

Morphy's Games. A Selections of the best Games played by the distinguished Champion in England and America. With analytical and critical notes, by
J. Lowenthal. New York; D. Appleton & Co. For sale by Taylor & Maury, Washington, D.C.

This volume will meet with a warm welcome, from all chess amateurs. It is interesting as a record of the exploits of Morphy among the chess Paladins of the Old World, and, besides, will richly repay a study of the brilliant and intricate games which are scattered through its pages. The notes of M. Lowenthal, himself a celebrated player, and no mean antagonist of Morphy, are judicious and well timed, and will be found of great assistance to one attempting an analysis of the games.

September 29, 1859
Vol. XIII No. 665 P. 153

by James M'Cune Smith

In that sad autumn month of 1857, when the commercial panic had reached its height, and when New York city seemed the central vortex of disaster not only of the United States, but of the civilized world there were two occurrences in singular contrast with the frightfully excited state of the public mind. To the few who had the heart to look out of doors, out of doors never looked more lovely. The air was balmy and of delightful temperature, the sky was cloudless, the sunsets beautiful, and never, since the world began, threw a more gorgeous hue over mountain and forest of the American landscape. We confess to some sympathy with that gloomy state of the public mind not that we had any golden argosy in stocks or shares which went down yet there was the coming winter, and, possibly, wan cheeks and supperless beds to those dearer than life. But, whatever gloom we felt was one day suddenly dissipated by the glorious “out of doors,” which had smiled and beckoned us many a day unheeded, and which, now no longer to be kept aloof, told us of the goodness as well as the glory of the Almighty.

We thought then, and we think now, that had the men of God, instead of improving that dark hour with pictures of darker sins and darker vengeance, and a more fearful judgment to come, had they simply pointed to the earth yielding her abundance, and to the air charged with health, and to the sky filled with the smile of God, and said to their alarmed people, “Peace, be still!” there would soon have been an end of all panic. Cheerfulness would have resumed her sway; and many a grave would have yet remained unfilled, and the sadder gates of our institutions for the insane would now hold some thousands fewer within their portals.

The other occurrence was in-doors. While men in Wall street surged to and fro under impulses they no more understood and could no more govern than the iron waves in the howling storm; while men in Broadway and other streets adjacentthe masters suddenly arrested in their golden dreams of enormous profit, and the workmen sadly folding up their implements of labor; and while the poor, frantic with an unknown dread, rushed to the savings banks,* or gathered in bread mobs in distant parksin the midst of this social hurricane, there was one house in Broadway, in which men daily gathered, and matters went on

“Calm as a summer's sea,”

the very centre of the vortex, yet calm as a moonlit pool, so deeply embayed in mountains, that no breath of air could reach it a land-locked haven, in which whoever entered, however storm riven or care-crushed, became calm and still, and hung up his votive offerings to the genius loci; which was neither music, nor dancing, nor dice, nor wine, nor opium, nor lotus, nor hasheesh, but simply Chess! the immortal game, painted as played on the inside of the tomb of Nevotp, the Egyptian, 3,000 years B.C.;**  but who can paint it as played at Donadi's rooms in Broadway, in the year of grace 1857?

We have said that “out of doors” dissipated our gloom at that date; but in-doors this indoors was an accessory cloud-dispeller. We “got” there after this wise:
Years ago, in the early months of our still persistent honeymoon, I purchased a pretty but fragile set of chessmen, and aided by an old copy of "Walker", and the new frau, made some little progress in chess, until little fingers grew up round the table, and made a general smash of knights, pawns, and rooks, and little cares of another kind interfered with further proficiency. And it is good testimony in favor of the game, that when knight and pawn so went to the band, no harsh nor unkind word was uttered against their young destroyers, the chubby fingers were not rapped, nor their owners punished. It is not always so, however. We read of a passionate duke, in the middle ages, breaking the chess board on the skull of his conqueror; and I have seen the wild Fylbel aim a sudden blow at a little French, man, who recklessly swept the men off the board when Fyl was about to “mate” an opponent. My description of the game attracted some friends to buy board and book; and in a little while, Fylbel, the Downings, one of the Reasons, and an occasional jew-pedlar who insisted on taking the king, (the atrocious regicide!) with the preliminary exclamation, “chess de koenig” formed as clumsy a set of chess players as could be hunted up. The appearance of Staunton's Chess-Players Hand Book was an era in our progress, although months were wasted in discussing the laws of the game by that born Causidicus, who now presides over the Sea-Girt House at Newport. In course of time, we became decent players.

So the year 1857 found us. It was some relief, looking at the daily papers, to turn from the failure of A, B, & Co., for $150,000, and from the suspension of specie payments by the banks, except the glorious old Chemical, to the unruffled proceedings of the first American Chess Congress, then in session, admission for the week, to lookers on one dollar. But that dollar? Was it prudent, with bank account at low water, and slim prospect of a flow, and on the edge of a long winter, with others dependent, was it prudent so to bestow to throw away a dollar? After hearing counsel before ourself three whole days, we held a family council with “die frau,” who at once decided that we must go. And “went” we did. And the officers of the Chess Congress, with nobler instincts of gentlemen than the New York Academy of Medicine ***,  did not hesitate or refuse to admit a negro, even with the high-bloods from the South in their midst, and the danger of the dissolution of the Union before their eyes.

Having seen their portraits in Frank Leslie, we instantly singled out Paulsen and his great antagonist, and a little skillful elbowing found us seated beside their board. There was Louis Paulsen, with his vast head, sanguine temperament, but coarse fibre, indicating his rough, almost pure-Bersekir blood; and as we gazed at Morphy, with his fine, open countenance, brunette hue, marvelous delicacy of fibre, bright, clear eyes, and elongated submaxillary bone, a keen suspicion entered our ethnological department that we were not the only Carthaginian in the room. It might only be one drop, perhaps two ,God only knows how they got there but surely, beside the Tria mulattin who at present writes, there was also a Hekata-mulattin in that room!

It was the old combat between Coeur de Lion and the Saladin. How strange that the Orient and the Occident should yet war! Paulsen huge, massive, ponderous; Morphy slight, elegant, yet swift as lightning.

The game was about half through, so far as the number of moves were concerned. Paulsen hesitated, clasped his hands, leaving out the two long fore-fingers, which he laid firmly on the edge of the board counted over the five or six possible moves of his opponent, and then evidently knew something more would follow but what? You could almost see him think; at length, with a peculiar flourish of his arm, he
seizes a pawn, and moves. With scarcely a moment's hesitation, with his eyes for an instant bent on the board, Morphy raises his arm as if to strike, and throws a piece right in the way of his antagonist. Another long, long pause, the hands again clasped: “why, take the piece, man,” is on everybody's unopened lips; yet Paulsen pauses, again clasps his hands, and for nearly half an hour pores over the board; he
does not take the proffered piece, but offers one of equal value; then something skin to electricity flashed through and out of Morphy, the calm white forehead “pleated up,” his arm raised, he swiftly moves; and, as if caught with the same impulse. Paulsen moves instantly; then, for a few seconds, there is a click, click, clicka move each second percussion-caps, rifles, cannons, grape, canister, the clash of swords and then all is still. Flushed with the struggle, Paulsen looks up to see why the other sits calm and cold as an icicle; Paulsen glances again at the board, and sees mate for himself three or four moves off!

Surely, thought we, chess is a question of magnetism; given, a fair parity in skill between two players, and the more powerfully magnetic will sway and conquer the will of the less magnetic, and force him into moves according to his will. We had tried this often, directly, with the susceptible engraver, P. H. R., and once, in a reflex manner, with J. S., of Providence. In this latter instance, he being the less practiced player, but of impressible nerves, by fixing our attention on the board at the same moment with him, and marking out the best move against us, he invariably made that move, and won; per contra, while, in another game, we made moves, and then looked away; ignored the board until he had moved; unmagnetized, the termination of the game was speedily against him.

How, then, did Paulsen, with his superior magnetism, and not very inferior skill, fail to affect Morphy? The moment that Morphy completed a move, he threw the whole board away from his attention, brushed away magnetism, so to speak often went off to the other end of the room, and had to be summoned thence to reply to Paulsen's move. (4.) And it was very evident that the study of the former was not at all in relation to what Paulsen would move, but in regard to the possible moves and combinations, embracing from twelve to twenty moves, and their twelve times twelve, and twenty times twenty of possible inter-combinations. This whirl of permutation, with accurate results in each of thousands of combinations, evidently passes through Morphy's mind in like manner as in Zerah Colburn and other arithmetical prodigies, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and the square root, are performed with the rapidity and accuracy of Mr. Babbage's machine. So that for any one less gifted in this peculiar power than Morphy to attempt to play with him, is like one man at the brake of a fire-engine, striving to play the same against another worked by steam; or, more accurately, for an ordinary adept to endeavor to count interest with Zerah Colburn, or the negro prodigy recently announced in Alabama.

This leads us to inquire, what is chess? Is it a purely intellectual exercise, affording scope and improvement and test of the mental faculties? or is it a physico-intellectual exercise, engaging muscular as well as brain work? What faculties does it call into exercise? The eye and fingers, the muscles of the arm, and the muscles of the orbit, the peculiar power of seeing the men in their places, and of seeing
men that are in their places as if they were not there, but elsewhere, and others, or blanks, where they actually are a sort of physical reticence and imagination acting at one and the same moment such is one phase of chess exercise. Napoleon planned his battles on large maps, with pin-heads indicating the whereabouts of each corps, division, and even brigade. He moved the pins about as his thought
required, and thus completed his plan. But your chess-player must go through this preliminary fight without touching map or pin; he must with most difficult reticence keep hands off until he makes a complete survey of the men and the field; and when he once touches a man, it must be moved beyond recall. This requires a stretch of attention very exhausting, nay, almost impossible to some minds; it is the faculty which phrenologists term “continuity,” which is the result, for the most part, of training, sometimes a gift. We notice, in nearly all the chess - playing friends we have named, that their failure in play depends on the lack of this faculty. G. T. D., for example, makes the most vigorous attacks of any of them, but, after the twelfth or sixteenth move, his attention is exhausted, and some careless move makes him an easy prey to a less vigorous opponent. In his case, this failure in attention, or continuity, is confined to his chess play; in business, or in public movements, in which he is deeply interested, he is constant, persistent, and steadfast as a sleuth bound. This would seem to indicate that his perceptive faculties are deficient, or are easily wearied over the chess-board. Per contra, among these friends, P. H. R., the engraver, is the only one who plays an even, unflagging game throughout; indeed, as many have found to their chagrin, plays the better end game, the worse his chances appear to be. His perceptive faculties are trained by his employment, and rather improve than weary by continuity of exercise.

Another amateur, W. C. I., is a most interesting study at the chess-board. He has fine perceptive faculties, is a splendid boxer, of quick, strong, combative temperament, and of full physical imagination. He makes the most beautiful combinations we ever saw on the chess - board; they seem as brilliant as fireworks; but he loses almost every game, not from breaking down of his continuity or attention, so much as from an incurably mercurial disposition, which leads him to forsake a sound move for one apparently more brilliant, but less safe. This
gentleman bought a mare the other day, which, in twenty four hours, kicked three wagons to pieces, and threw him out each time; of course, instead of getting rid of her, he is “bound” to break her, it will be “such a splendid feat.” From the nature of the faculties which it calls into play, we regard chess as a physical as well as intellectual exercise, requiring muscular work as well as brain work. Cricket, billiards, chess, rise from the physico-intellectual to the intellectuo-physical; and chess, billiards, cricket, reverse the order. Lookers-on at cricket feel the blood rush, the muscles clench, and a “hurra” escaping from the lips. Lookers on at billiards tell me that to see Phelan play affords the highest possible physical enjoyment (5.).  Lookers on at chess feel their muscles twitching, their fingers clasping and moving imaginary men, and their heads aching when the game is done. Another reason why we regard chess less as an intellectual than a physical exercise consists in the fact, that the highest eminence in chess is attained before the age of full intellectual development. In our American Chess Congress, the champions of the champions were very young men: Morphy twenty, and Paulsen twenty-three or four. McDonnell, Staunton, Harrwitz, Stanley, all won their laurels in their early
days. The best chess-players on record, in like manner, had attained their eminence while under thirty years of age; while the human intellect is not at its full development until between the thirty-fifth and forty-fifth year of the individual. And if chess-playing maximum occurs before the intellectual maximum, it follows that chess is not a purely intellectual exercise. Furthermore, a man's force in chess, like his physical power or force, diminishes after he is thirty years of age. Yankee Sullivan at forty three, some eighteen years after he had passed his physical maximum, was no match for his own equal, aged twenty-five; hence the years told in Tom Hyer's favor.

In like manner, Mr. Stanley, who, at twenty-two, had won a match against Mr. St. Amant, in New Orleans, was but a third-rate player at forty years of age; and the real excuse for Mr. Staunton, in declining to play with Morphy, was, that he had passed his maximum chess-playing age some twenty
years ago, and could not be expected, an old man, to acquit himself as if he had been a young one. “I will take to my work, let the young gentleman take to his play,” was really a truthful and adequate reason for declining to play; but “why not say this before?” say the critics. Because, on practicing, as he doubtless did, in private, Mr. Staunton discovered that his chess skill was dulled to his own apprehension, his chess muscles had lost their wonted fire and lubricity in the gambit. Au reste what a stupid piece of red republicanism it is, in the midst of
the nineteenth century, to expect a king, even of chess, to throw away his crown wittingly, before an unknown cavalier, however preux!

In relation to the higher faculties which it calls into exercise, chess affects less the pure reasoning powers than is usually taken for granted. Classed as a division of mathematical study, it belongs to the arithmetical rather than the transcendental department of mathematics; it is no higher than permutation. All possible moves of a given number of pieces can be summed up in an intelligible line of figures less than a yard long. The objection, therefore, of the great Scotch metaphysician to mathematics, as a means of mental development that they lead to only positive results, as in a grooved track applies with double force to chess, which calls into exercise one of the lower branches of mathematics only.

A great deal has been said about invention in relation to chess-playing, and a London newspaper especially lands the inventive genius of Mr. Morphy. If our view of his peculiar power be the correct one, then there is no invention in his play. All the possible combinations of the moves before him appear to his mind as clearly as K. p. to K.'  to an ordinary player; and from what he sees, he selects the best play. It is about as much invention as is exercised by a natural arithmetician, in announcing, in a minute, a difficult result in interest for days no more. Besides, this gentlemant, he very best of known living chess-players seems singularly deficient in even the moderate degree of invention which can be predicated of chess. We have the Evans Gambit, the Scotch Gambit, the Muzio Gambit, &c., &c., but we have not yet the Morphy Gambit, nor is there in print more than one very
commonplace problem by our modern chess king.

But the problems! Do not they require invention! If they do, it is invention of no higher character, and requiring no greater powers, than to construct certain figures with a Chinese puzzle; and a first-rate problem-composer is seldom, if ever, a first-class player. These views of the status of chess-playing receive confirmation from the fact that first-class chess-players have seldom, if ever, distinguished themselves in the higher departments of thought or invention. Mr. Buckle, the author of “Civilization in England,” may be adduced as an exception; he was, fifteen years ago, among the most eminent chess-players in Europe; he suddenly gave up chess-playing, betook himself to study, and his admirable volume is the first fruits of fifteen years of intense application. Yet, while, he betrays an
extent of reading wider than that so pompously announced by Gibbon, and while strong common sense and keen observation are abundantly manifest in his work, there is lacking the bold grasp and deep insight which we find in Hume and Sir James Mackintosh, and even in Dumas. Mr. Buckle lets us into the secret of his shortcomings, moreover, in the following sentence: “Whoever will take the pains
fairly to estimate the present condition of mental philosophy must admit that, notwithstanding the influence it has always exercised over some of the most powerful minds, and through them over society at large, there is, nevertheless, no other study which has been so zealously prosecuted, so long continued, and yet remains so barren of results!” Barren of results! Shades of Locke, Malebranche, Berkeley, Dugald Stewart, Reid, Brown, Cousin, and Sir William Hamilton! Of course, Mr. Buckle is an ardent admirer of Auguste Compte, and fifteen
years of purely literary labor has not raised him above the intellectual level of the chess-board.

Yet chess-playing is an amusement worthy of cultivation, especially for the young. It is better in-door entertainment than cards, or dice, or lager-bier; it has been well said that it does not lead to gambling. It has the positive merit of improving the tone of manners and of cultivating the power of attention. In looking at Morphy and Paulsen, in 1857, we were struck with the evident purity of both these young men. Neither presented the bleared eyes, shaking hands, nor nervous tremor, which a four-hours sitting would betray in nine-tenths of our young men of the city; they were plainly in perfect physical condition, and all their faculties were clear and in full honest exercise. And so must the devotees of chess keep themselves, or they will inevitably lose rank as chess-players.

* It was a marked instance of “faith,” that while the colored people of New York had over a million of dollars in savings banks, scarce one of them was seen in the crowd who made this “run” on those institutions.
** Bunsen, Egypt's Place in Universal History, vol. ii, p. 288.
*** A month or two after the organization of the New York Academy of Medicine, the writer of this, at the request of the late Dr. Bliss, and Dr. Tones, sent his name, with these gentlemen as vouchers, as an applicant for membership. It was duly referred to the proper committee, who sent their chairman, the venerable Dr. Francis, with a letter, acknowledging the fullness of the credentials, and even passing as encomium on the applicant, yet respectfully requesting him to withhold his application for the present, lest it might interfere with the “harmony” of the young institution. This be did on conditions which the committee and the Academy took the earliest opportunity flagrantly to violate.
(4*) Morphy, on meeting a new antagonist of first class, generally loses the first game. He then sits by the board, and is under the magnetism of his opponent. Ten minutes reflection, after the game is over, shows him his own false play, and the strength of his adversary; in after games he deserts the board and play as soon as he has moved and wins.
(5*) Probably that sense of pleasure from muscular movement announced by Brown, in his Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind; pages 134-186. Glasg. 1830.



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