Daguerreian Society

A year ago, I posted one of these four texts. I now have all four of the
related texts, and present them here together for the sake of continuity. 

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From the Tuesday, 14 December 1852 "Daily Evening Transcript: (Boston) pg. 2:

  A PORTRAIT OF DANIEL WEBSTER.  Of the fifty or more engraved portraits of Mr. 
Webster, there is no one among them all that we can pronounce really good.  All 
have defects of some sort.  We want an engraving of the great farmer, 
legislator, statesman, and patriot, as a companion print to Stuart's Washington, 
in the same style of art, to hang beside it in the library or drawing-room--for 
Washington and Webster will go down the stream of time inseparable, and 
together, in the warm love and affection of the American people.  It should be 
taken from the best and most truthful portraiture of the great man as he was in 
his palmiest days.  If Mr. Ames's is the best, in the opinion of competent 
judges, let that be copied; or if the lineaments are more faithfully given in 
King's breathing marble, let that be the standard.  We want an eight or ten 
dollar engraving, with proof impressions at a higher cost, on the purest steel, 
to transmit to future ages, as a sample of the engraver's art of the nineteenth 
century.  Is there not some eminent and patriotic citizen, who can command the 
best talent in the country, who would be willing to undertake the work?  It 
would command all praise, and one sure of a liberal response from the good and 
the patriotic of the whole nation.  Mr. Webster's fame now stands higher in the 
affections of the people, than on the day of his death, or at the most brilliant 
period of his life; and his memory has more friends at the setting of each day's 
sun than at its rising.  Will the press favor the enterprise?  We answer, 
unhesitatingly, yes.

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Albert S. Southworth, signing his letter simply as "s." responds to the above 
appeal in the Thursday, 16 December 1852 "Daily Evening Transcript: (Boston) pg. 

  WELCH'S ENGRAVING OF WASHINGTON.  Mr. Editor:  Some remarks in Tuesday's 
Transcript, on a proposed new engraved likeness of Daniel Webster, induce me to 
state a few facts for the information of all who may be willing to award credit 
where and to whom it belongs.  About a year since Messrs. Southworth & Hawes 
furnished Mr. Welch with three Daguerreotypes of Stuart's Washington; and also 
with the use of their new apparatus for enlarging and tracing upon transparent 
paper, a copy the exact size of his intended picture.  This is believed to be 
the only use which he made of the original painting, and he could neither have 
needed or desired more, for the Daguerreotypes were pronounced by both the 
president and librarian of the Boston Athenaeum equal to the original, or in 
their exact language, one of them said "he liked them better," the other "he 
liked them as well," and the venerable artist, Mr. Sully of Philadelphia, said 
"he never saw their equal."
  It would have been an act of justice, had the publishers of that engraving had 
appropriately recorded upon it some testimonial to Messrs. Southworth & Hawes, 
for services which they could not otherwise have procured, for facilities of 
their own invention, which could not have been elsewhere furnished, and which 
were earnestly and cheerfully bestowed without money or price.            s.

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A reponse by "Justice" appeared on Monday, 20 December 1852, pg. 1:

  WELCH'S ENGRAVING OF STUART'S WASHINGTON.  Mr. Editor:  Your correspondent in 
Thursday's Transcript, in reference to Welch's engraved copy of Stuart's 
Washington, says:
  About a year since Mr. Welch was furnished with three daguerreotypes of 
Stuart's Washington, and also with the use of an apparatus for tracing upon 
paper the size of his intended picture, and that is believed to be the only use 
he made of the original painting.
  Whether Mr. Welch could,--as our most eminent artists and scholars say he has 
done,--have presented in his engraved portrait, the dignity, nobleness, 
serenity, and the whole individuality of the original, without having copied or 
studied it, is a question unanswered,--but whether he did or not, the following 
letter from Charles Folsom, Esq., the well-known Librarian of the Boston 
Athenaeum, speaks for itself:

                             BOSTON ATHENAEUM, July 14, 1852
  Dear Sir:  Accept my best thanks for your very acceptable present of a copy of 
the engraving of Stuart's Washington.
  I have forborne to express my opinion of it, till I had lived with it for some 
little time.  As I was cognizant of Mr. Welch's diligence and solicitude to do 
justice to the original when he was here two or three years ago, and felt a 
strong interest in his success, I now take great pleasure in saying that, on 
studying his work and comparing it with the portrait in the Athenaeum Gallery, I 
am more and more struck with its fidelity, and do not hesitate to say that I 
think it the best copy which has yet been engraved, and that I would rather own 
it than any painted copy I have ever seen.
  I have exposed it in the Library, where it has been seen by many competent 
judges, and I have heard but one opinion expressed concerning it, and that as 
favorable as you could desire.  Respectfully yours.
  Geo. W. Childs.                            CHARLES FOLSOM.

  Thus you will see, instead of engraving his Portrait entirely from "a 
Daguerreotype taken about a year ago"--that about three years ago he was at the 
Boston Athenaeum with the original, and I regret to say that in his endeavors to 
give to the world a faithful Portrait of Washington, he has nearly lost the use 
of one of his eyes.

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Of course, Southworth didn't let this challenge go without response, and so 
wrote the following letter which appeared in the Thursday, 23 December 1852 
"Daily Evening Transcript" (Boston) pg. 1:

  WELCH'S ENGRAVING OF WASHINGTON.  Mr. Editor:  In last Thursday's Transcript 
it was my object to make known what the publisher had omitted, viz: that Mr. 
Welch engraved from daguerreotypes by Messrs. Southworth & Hawes.  I should have 
added that Mr. Welch came to Boston one year ago today, Dec. 21st, having 
previously neither commenced his picture, nor seen the portrait.  Mr. Welch was 
diligent to obtain all that could aid him to produce an exact copy, and when he 
saw the daguerreotypes knew that he neither could need or desire more.  He, of 
course, at the time studied the original and compared the copies with it, and 
then returned to Philadelphia, and engraved his picture.
  Mr. Welch has shown greater powers as an artist in engraving this picture, 
from daguerreotypes, in four or five months, than though he had spent three 
years in doing the same thing with the portrait before him.  I trust this 
statement, when taken with the one I made under the signature of S., together 
with the most unqualified declaration of my confidence in Mr. Welch, as a 
perfect gentleman and an accomplished artist, will, at least, not be objected to 
by his friends or by "Justice."  I should not have replied to the article signed 
"Justice," in Monday's Transcript, had not the writer made use of Mr. Folsom's 
name and letter, which "if he has copied correctly" only shows an unintentional 
mistake of Mr. Folsom's, evidently an indefinite expression, and not designed to 
establish dates.  When facts are required as to the time, the words "two or 
three years" must be changed so as to read nearly eight months.  I will only add 
that one motive for noticing this engraving was to make known to the public the 
value of daguerreotypes, and the aid daguerreotypists may afford engravers in 
their sphere of the fine arts.  I shall make no reply to anything further upon 
this subject, not endorsed with the writer's signature, and hold myself 
accountable for the article signed S. in last Thursday's Transcript, as also for 
the preceding communication.
                                               ALBERT S. SOUTHWORTH.
     Artists' Daguerreotype Room, 5 1/2 Tremont Row, Boston.

(With thanks to Mr. Chris Steele of Boston, for the above texts. Mr. Steele is 
responsible for many of the Boston-area texts I have used in past DagNews 
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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