Text: Frederick W. Thomas to Edgar Allan Poe — February 26, 1842


Washington, February 26, 1842.

My Dear Friend, — Yours of the 4 inst I duly received. It was not from forgetfulness, I assure you, that I have delayed writing so long. I was in hopes that I could make some suggestions to you with regard to a Magazine on your “own hook.” Mr. Robert Tyler would assist you with his pen all he could, but I suppose he could not assist you in any other way, unless government patronage in the way of printing blanks &c could be given to you. Anything that I could do for you you know will be done. Robert Tyler expressed himself highly gratified with your favorable opinion of his poem which I mentioned to him. He observed that he valued your opinion more than any other critic’s in the country — to which I subscribed. I am satisfied that any aid he could extend to you would be extended with pleasure. Write me frankly upon the subject.

Poe, if an enterprising printer was engaged with you, a magazine could be put forth under your control which would soon surpass any in the United States. Do you not know of such a man? Certainly with your reputation there are many printers who would gladly embrace such an opportunity of fortune.

In whatever magazine you are engaged editorially you should have an interest. Working at a salary, an editor feels not half the motive that he would if his emolument increased with the popularity of the work; the permanent success of which would be to him a source of pecuniary capital and support.

Speaking of the autographs: I must confess that I was more than surprised at the eulogistic notices which you took of certain writers — but I attributed it to a monomania partiality. I am glad to see that you still retain the unbiased possession of your mental faculties. But, Poe, for the sake of that high independence of character which you possess you should not have let Graham influence you into such notices. There, that in complete imitation of your frankness. Truly I thought your notice of me a handsome one.

Ingraham is here. He is trying hard to get a situation abroad — and I trust he may succeed. I have not read Barnaby Rudge — and therefore I determined not to read your criticism on it until I had. Nor have I read the “Curiosity Shop.” To speak the truth I glanced at several chapters of those works and did not get interested in them. Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers, and the Sketches I think Boz’s best works.

It gave me sincere sorrow to hear of the illness of your “dear little wife.” I trust long ere this she has entirely recovered. Though I have no wife, yet I have sisters, and have experienced the tenderness of woman’s nature. I can therefore, in part, sympathise with you. Express my regard to your lady and mother. Poe, I long to see you. I assure you I never canvass a literary opinion in my mind without saying to myself: “I wonder what Poe will say of the book.”

Dow is well — I saw him at the theatre last night. What are the prospects of the book trade for the spring? Have you heard, or have you formed an opinion? Judge Breckenridge’s biography of his father was, as I suppose you have seen, published in the Messenger. It took amazingly.

White of the Messenger is here. He called to see me yesterday. He has been very ill. What kind of a chap is he? as Sam Weller would ask.

Write a long letter, Poe, on the reception of this. If you have any prospect of starting a magazine on your “own hook “ let me know so that I may help you on in this quarter.

Your friend
F. W. Thomas.  

Edgar A. Poe Esq.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - F. W. Thomas to Poe (RCL358)