Text: John Allan to E. A. Poe — March 20, 1827



Your letter of Monday was received this morning, I am not at all surprized at any step you may take, at any thing you can say, or any thing you may do, you are a much better judge of the propriety of your own conduct and have general treatment of those who <have> had the charge of your infancy & have watched with parental solicitude & affection over your tender years affording you such means of instruction as was in their power & which was performed with pleasure until you became a much better judge of your own conduct, rights & priveledges than they, it is true I taught you to aspire, even to eminence in Public Life, but I never expected that Don Quixotte, Gil Blas, Jo: Miller & such works were calculated to promote the end.

It is true and you will not deny it, that the charge of eating the Bread of idleness, was to urge you to perseverance & industry in receiving the classics, in presenting yourself in the mathematics, mastering the French &c. &c. how far I succeeded in this you can best tell, but for one who had conceived so good an opinion of himself & his future intentions I hesitate not to say, that you have not evinced the smallest disposition to comply with my wishes, it is only on this subject [page 2:] I wish to be understood, your Heart will tell you if it is not made of marble whether I have not had good reason to fear for you, in more ways than one. I should have been justly chargeable, in reprimanding you for faults had I had any other object than to correct them.

Your list of grievances require no answer the world will reply to them — & now that you have shaken off your dependence & declared for your own Independance [[Independence]] — & after such a list of Black charges — you Tremble for the consequences unless I send you a supply of money



The text of this letter ends abruptly in the middle of page 2, suggesting that it was only a draft. It is undated and unsigned. Whether or not it was completed and mailed is uncertain. The statement in the last line to “Tremble for the consequences” is clearly a reference to Poe’s letter to Allan of March 19, 1827, which ends with the same phrase. This letter is printed here with permission from the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. It was first printed, with a photographic facsimile, by Mary Newton Stanard, Edgar Allan Poe Letters Till Now Unpublished in the Valentine Museum, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1925, pp. 67-68, “letter number five.”


[S:0 - MS, 1827] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - J. Allan to Poe (RCL014)