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Politician, diplomat, and early advocate of environmental protection Autograph Letter signed: "George P Marsh", 4p (integral leaf), 5x7¾. Rome, 1876 September 29. To "Miss Mary Edmunds" (his niece).

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Politician, diplomat, and early advocate of environmental protection
Autograph Letter signed: "George P Marsh", 4p (integral leaf), 5x7¾. Rome, 1876 September 29. To "Miss Mary Edmunds" (his niece). In full: "I was glad to learn from yours of [space for a date left blank] that Congress had passed the bill allwing one to accept the presents, & I opened the case containing the four legs of the table. (I had peeked into that containing the top before) without waiting for the official notice. The top is of black stone 28½ inches in diameter, circular, with a fine red line about 2 inches inside of the edge, and with a bouquet of wild & cultivated roses [illegible phrase] about a foot in diameter in the center. The workmanship is better than I though with with first view & it is a very beautiful object. It is enclosed in a gilt, numbered border and supported by a simple leg, resting on four feet, with a black wood and richly carved and gilt. We have placed it in the small drawing room, in the corner under the etagère with the punch bowl. It is not very conspicuous in this position, but with such an object, safety is a great point. The watch is too valuable to wear in these days of thievery & I didn't know what to do with it, though I think I should sooner have chosen a watch than almost any other present. [Carnival?], which I loathe more and more every year as I learn more of its evils, expires tonight, but we have no lack of new fooleries ready to take its place. We have entertained no dinner company this winter, except twice I believe four or five friends, and now I suppose the Ambassador will take the responsibility of diplomatic entertainments off the hands of humble ministers.[illegible name] has given two large talks with splendid success, and is now at the summit of his social glory. He really does substantial service in extending a hospitality which is out of our reach. The [phrase illegible]their visits, but many more Americans have wanted presentations than ever before, and your aunt has much to do. She has been confined to her room some days, but prefers to be at work, and is now translating an astronomical article of Father Scachi. I suppose my miracles are in the open. I have doubled the quantity of matter & hope the book will sell. I shall be suspected of its authorship, but I don't think it will be positively known as my work. It is rather too theological to be generally supposed by be by a layman. We see a great deal of the [title illegible]. I have scheduled visits several times with Mr. Sturnmayer, but we have always missed each other. The Bishop of [?] I have not seen since March (other than views of him.) The house had a very pleasant visit from the Mrs. Capt. Phelps, (Lissie [?] of Washington, who has revived many old memories of my Washington life. She has been two years at Milan with her daughter, who is studying music They are going home in April. She has no time for reading, but hopes for some in the summer which we shall have to spend in Italy for want of means to go elsewhere, unless the reduction in my salary is defeated. Love to all. Your affectionate uncle". George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) represented Vermont in the US Congress (1843-1849), until his appointment by President Taylor as Minister to Turkey. President Lincoln named him as the first US Minister to Italy in 1861, a post he held for over two decades until his death. Fluent in many languages and a prolific author, Perkins was one of the first to write about how human activity was reshaping the ecosystem, often with disastrous results. (For example, he noted how deforestation was leading to desertification in the Sahara.) Man and Nature (1864) warned of environmental degradation and advocated reforestation, watershed management and conservation. A revised and expanded version of this treatise was later published as The Earth as Modified by Human Action. He married Caroline Crane Marsh, herself a noted poet and scholar, in 1839. Ink shows through pages, making some of the text difficult to decipher. Otherwise, fine condition.

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