THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                              Oliver Wendell Holmes' speech


At 20 minutes of 9 o'clock, the President of the Boston Chess Club, Dr. Richardson, arose and addressed the assembly as follows:

"In behalf of the Boston Chess Club I am happy to welcome on this occasion our distinguished guest, Mr. Paul Morphy. and the many other eminent guests assembled on this occasion. And they may be assured that the welcome is not less cordial and sincere, although so brief. I now introduce to you the President of the evening, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes"

[prolonged applause]

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes

"We have met, gentlemen, some of us as members of a local association, some of us as its invited guests, but all of us as if by spontaneous, unsolicited impulse, to do honor to our young friend who has honored us and all who glory in the name of Americans, as the hero of a long series of bloodless battles, won for our common country ... Honor went before him, and Victory followed after ...
"I propose the health of PAUL MORPHY, the world's Chess Champion: His peaceful battles have helped to achieve a new resolution; his youthful triumphs have added anew clause to the declaration of American Independence."

 Dr. Holmes' speech was greeted with frequent applause and at its conclusion the band played
"Hail Columbia." Morphy, upon rising to respond, was greeted with three times three cheers.
As soon as he could be heard he replied:

"Mr. President and Gentlemen: I sincerely thank you. To one and all I tender the expression of my warm and heartfelt acknowledgements. But, gentlemen, on such an occasion as the present, unprepared as you know I am, I must be allowed to say, gentlemen, that I rise with particular embarrassment and unaffected diffidence in attempting to speak before an intellectual aristocracy such as I have never before witnessed, whose celebrity and literary achievements are a part of our country's history. In such an illustrious presence it would ill become me to make a speech. I can only tender my thanks to the committee, with an expression of my sincere acknowledgements for the pleasure of being surrounded by a company so distinguished."