Friday, August 12, 2016

John L. Motley to Mary Lothrop Motley, August 26, 1862

Legation of the United States, Vienna,
August 26, 1862.

My Darling Little Mary: I am writing to you a mere apology for a letter. I wrote a letter to your dear grandmama by the last steamer, and, I believe, to you, but I am not sure. I am writing at my office in town, where I have the newspapers up to the 12th of August, which your mother and Lily have not yet seen. Here I have just read in them the details of the late fight in Virginia, in which the Massachusetts Second seems to have so much distinguished itself, and to have suffered so severely. I see with great regret that my old friend and classmate Dr. Shurtleff has lost a son in the fight. The details are still meager, but I have seen enough to feel sure that our men behaved brilliantly, and I can have no doubt of our ultimate success. I have just seen Hayward, whom I dare say you have seen in Hertford Street. He had had a long talk with M. Duvergier d'Hauranne, one of Louis Philippe's old ministers, which gentleman had just heard the whole story of the Richmond battles from the French princes. They described them exactly according to the accounts of the Northern newspapers, which they pronounced perfectly accurate, said that nothing could exceed the courage displayed on both sides, and that the movement to James River had been managed in such a very masterly manner by McClellan. All this I had no doubt of, but I like to hear what outsiders say to each other. Hayward also read me a note from Lord March, Governor-General of Canada, who says that English officers present at the late battles, and since returned to Canada, pronounce the accounts given in the Northern papers as perfectly accurate.

I have not a word to say of news. We dribble on in the even tenor of our Vรถslau ways. Hayward is coming out to dine to-morrow,1 and Saturday or Sunday we expect a visit of a few days from Mr. and Mrs. Hughes (Tom Brown) and Miss Stanley (Arthur Stanley's sister). We hope to have some comfort in talking with them, as Hughes is as stanch a friend to our cause as exists in Europe. Of course we never talk or think of anything else night or day.

Good-by, and God bless you, my darling. I promise to write again next week.

Your affectionate

1 From Mr. Hayward's “Letters,” ii. 82: “I also passed a day with the Motleys at their villa, and found him more unreasonable than ever, vowing that the restoration of the Union in its entirety was as sure as the sun in heaven.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 265-7

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