THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                               Staunton's letter to the Illustrated London News, November 15, 1858



(To the Editor of the Illustrated London News)   November 15, 1858  

     Sir, --  My attention has this moment been directed to a passage in a letter of Lord Lyttleton to Mr. Morphy wherein allusion is made to the "suppression" of a portion of Mr. Morphy's letter to me, which you published, together with my answer, in your Paper for Oct. 23. I have not seen the epistle to which Lord Lyttleton's is a reply; but I plead guilty at once to having omitted, when sending you Mr. Morphy's jeremiade [sic] and my answer, a couple of paragraphs from the former.
     My reasons for omitting them were, in the first place, because they appeared to be irrelevant to the main point between Mr. Morphy and me; secondly, because I knew if the letters extended very much beyond the limited space you apportion to chess they were pretty certain of being omitted, or, as Mr. Morphy phrases it "suppressed" altogether; and thirdly, because I had already written a friend in Paris with whom, through my introduction, Mr. Morphy was living in intimate terms, an explanation touching the notice Mr. Morphy professes to be so concerned at; and from my friend's reply, which intimated that Mr. Morphy was about to write to me in an amicable spirit, I, of course, supposed there was an end of the matter, and I should be permitted to pursue my work, and this young gentleman his play, without further misunderstanding.
     That, after this, and in the face of my endeavors through your Journal to set his blindfold and other chess exploits before the public in the most advantageous light -- in the face of every civility which to the extent of my opportunities I have endeavored to show him from the first moment of his arrival in the country -- he could reconcile this to his sense of honor and honesty to impute to me a willful suppression of any portion of his letter, does, indeed, amaze me, and I only account for it by supposing he is under the influence of very ill advisors, or that his idea of what is honorable and honest is very different from what I had hoped and believed it to be.
                                                I am, Sir, yours, &c.
                                                     H. Staunton

P.S. That you may judge with what likelihood and with what propriety Mr. Morphy attributes the omission of the excerpta to sinister motives, I enclose them, and shall be obliged by your giving them the additional publicity he craves as soon as your space permits: --
     "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."