Text: Frederick W. Thomas to Edgar Allan Poe — May 29, 1841


Washington May 29, 1841

My Dear Poe —

Your[[s]] of the 26 enclosing the draft upon T Taylor, periodical agent of this place, drawn in my favour by Mr Graham for twenty dollars, I received yesterday —

wanting the money as, I wrote you, I repaired forthwith to Mr Taylor’s book store and presented the draft — He said he had not that amount in hand due Mr Graham, and that he could not consequently cash the draft — He said also that he was willing to pay me what he owed Mr G, which was a fraction over five dollars; remarking further that he would write to Mr Graham and give him an account of the sales, &c. —

I regret I did not get the money — but accidents will happen with the best publishers and agents as well as in the best families — I hope your friend Graham will be so kind on the receipt of this as to let me hear from him — for by Jove, that knave’s abduction of my purse was not only an offense on his part which subjects him to the penitentiary, but an evil to myself which is worse than solitary confinement. I am glad you like Mr Graham; from what I have heard of him I should like him too — if common report is not that “common liar” which old Johnson says she always was and always will be. — My respects to him as I hope ere long to make his acquaintance for I will consider that by a kind of proxy you have introduced us already —

Many thanks my dear Poe for the estimation in which you hold your humble servant — I feel obligated to you truly. — I am glad you like the article I sent you — A lady and her lord who are fellow boarders of mine, and who have in possession, and what is more have read all mine scribblings say they think it my best paper — So, sir, you have a fair lady agreeing with you — not the first time Poe — I don’t know why it is, but frankly I like your approval of my little efforts better than any other critic’s whatsoever — firstly because you are a critic — and secondly because you are outright downright and upright in your criticism —

I am glad you “rapped Gallagher over the knuckles [[”]] — he deserved it — If his merit is as great as his modesty — guess — how much merit has he? He is between you and me as morbid an egotist and as envious a fellow as you will find in the sea’s compass — He is no friend of mine and never was — and until he is or I am “born again”, as the methodists say, (that is new modelled) he never will be —

Poe I like your “Island of the Fay” — “the waters that silently smile and the forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains that look down upon all” — I like that and thereabouts especially — You have struck a new vein — and I must moreover say to you that your criticisms are better now-a-days than were those of the Southern: — because they are more profound — with less attempt at severity with much more of it. —

Of Foster: all I know of him is, that, when I visited St Louis last, I found him there editing a paper. I was introduced to him and was struck with his talent — I know that his initials are G G — but furthermore I known not — His life has been eccentric and wild I should judge he seems careless of money, often in want of it (no sin that!) and I understood that he made his first appearance in St Louis as a flutist upon which instrument he is a most accomplished performer — I have heard him say that he formerly edited a paper in the south, and furthermore think I have heard him say that he came from the east — He is a short thin man with a very upright walk — a kind of stage strut — has a large black eye, hooked or rather arched nose, and speaks quick and impulsively — showing his teeth, which are uneven, very much when he speaks — His hair is very black and is turning grey here and there. — He is married and has a wife and child — I believe too that he was once on the stage —

My warmest regards to all in your home.
F W Thomas

P S — can I be of any service to you here — say so if I can — Say so to Mr Graham — and in any way, with the press or otherwise if I can aid him it will give me pleasure to do so — for anything with which you are connected I need not tell you I take a deep interest in — Dow is well and I believe will get along — the City is filling up rapidly — and the talk is that the secretaries must make a clean sweep.






[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - F. W. Thomas to Poe (RCL287)