Text: Hervey Allen, “Appendix 07,” Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (1926), volume 2, pp. 889-893


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[page 889:]

VII

Letters from the University of Virginia in 1826

THE following four items are here included by courtesy of the Edgar Allan Poe Shrine of Richmond, Virginia: They are:

One: A letter from Thomas Bolling, a classmate of Poe, to his mother from the University of Virginia dated April 1, 1825.

Two: A letter from Thomas Bolling from the University of Virginia to his father, Colonel William Bolling of Bolling Hall, dated May 10, 1826.

Three: A letter from Alen Garrett of Charlottesville, Virginia, a friend of the Bolling family and also known to Poe.

Four: A document signed by G. Thomas from the University of Virginia, to Colonel William Bolling for installments due.

Note — the first two letters are printed to show the relations between father and son in the Bolling family who lived close to the estate of John Allan, in Gouchland County. This family were personal friends of Poe and John Allan.

Letter three shows the manner in which the financial affairs, and the word of honor of a young scion of a Virginia planter’s family were treated by his parents and friends.

Letter four shows Colonel Bolling not only sending his son to the University and paying his way, but also contributing to the “Educational Fund” for the University by subscription.

All of these items, it is thought, may tend to throw an interesting contemporary light on the indignation of Poe at his guardian’s highly contrasted methods of procedure with his “son.” Thomas Bolling is referred to in the text (Originals in author’s possession).

ONE

April 1, 1825

MY DEAR MOTHER

Thinking it a duty incumbent on me to thank you for your very affectionate postscript, and the Dr. having concluded to tarry longer, I determined at least to write you, that the number of letters which I have written to my Father, will not reproach me, when I see you again which will, not be untill December, unless you should repeat your trip this summer, which I am inclined to think will be very pleasing as I expect this will be a very long summer and you so seldome go from home, that when ever you do, the clouds seem to be drawn from every quarter of the Globe.

There are sixty students at present and are gradually increasing, the people around us seem to be trying to get in with us by exhibiting every imaginable attention. My father my getting a mattress which I should prefer but for one reason. That is if me and my room mate were to fall out, I should take another room, and then the bed would be far preferable, so I have only to request you to send it as soon as convenient, and indeed I had as leave, sleep in it in summer as not. As yet I have every necessary article and a plenty of paper but will thank you to send a Horrice Delphini which is [page 890:] in my press, my candles I Lope you will not fail to send though I am not in immediate need of them, I think by sending my trunk and bed together, you might make a better bargain as to the price of convayance, You need not put yourself to any trouble about my violin as I am very little concerned and can get one here when ever I choose, and indeed I rather you should not, because they might bowrow it to serenade and might get it ruined, there are several of my Breme Students here among whom are Anderson whom I am very fond of, I forgot to credit my father for not having taken snuff and abuse him for not having practised on the Violin, and I hope you will not lay it by in the prime of your life one of you must write when my trunk comes and excuse these unconnected sentences. My love and sincere well wishes for you all and Believe me ever your affectionate Son

THOMAS BOLLING

P. S. I have begun this letter to my mother but have addressed myself principally to my father.

Farewell

your Son

THOS. BOLLING

Thinking that it will be agreeable to my Father I enclose a copy of the Laws —

Two

University of Virginia May 10th, 1826

MY EVER DEAR FATHER.

I have both to acknowledge the receipt of your letter and the enclosure, both of which contributed greatly to my satisfaction, not only the pleasure of hearing that you were well, but many other things quite agreeable to my eye, one in particular that of your safe arrival home, and my dear Father I was glad to hear of your intended trip to Lynchburge for several reasons, especially at this time since I know that you will meet with our relation Meade whom I have been in company with for several nights at Mr. Garretts, and have to acknowledge much kind treatment from them to me, and what rendered my time still more agreeable, was to meet with Mistress Chattoria and the Miss Carry’s and must inform you of a most agreeable trip I took with them to Retten’s Mountain on Thursday last. On Wednesday evening I was invited to spend the evening at Mrs. Carr’s, about 7 miles on the way which being performed left 15, which was a very agreeable distance to go and return the next and the view I can only say surpassed all conception. I possessed a pleasing melancholy, arising from my being able to see far below my dear home, without being able to forward my body with my sight, and to spare you my anxiety to perform the trip, I will attempt to describe my noble Beast, a sorrell horse 6 feet, string Halted in both hind legs, could neither pace, gallup or trot, and still he performed all, that is a confused higgledy, piggledy of the whole, and I never backed a more sure footed animal, which is the sum of his merits, and afforded more laughter, than anything we met with the whole day, and finally he has the exact character of [page 891:] the Horse that Shakespeare describes so admirably in one of his plays. I have some idea of buying him and trading for that colt you mentioned, as you mentioned it would be a difficult matter to barter you out of. I had a very pleasing dream last nit. that you and myself were hunting, I with my gun and pointer, and the conversation we carried on together was happiness below, and only regret it had not been in reality, I think at this time there is some probability of Mrs. Garretts going down next month if so it is more than probable I will accompany her as far as (B. H.) and was truly rejoiced that I de ——— myself of that pleasure, which some of my comrades did, since I know that you would have been dissatisfied, for I have lived to the age to know that there is nothing in the bounds of reason that you will spare to gratify my wants and inclinations, and it would give me pleasure by way of a variety for you to refuse, for if I could call to mind any circumstance of my past life I could not recollect a single demand or request which has not been granted to me by you, and if you were to refuse now I could hardly think anything of it. I must now give you some information res our College affairs. We have lately lost a student by the name of Thomas Barclay, expelled for a very trivial offence, and suspended for the Session, and I Clarke whom Mr. Wessiger is acquainted for months, the latter particularly was the most inconsidered act I have known the Faculty to be guilty of, for he was considered a very studious fellow, inoffensive in every respect, and Nature was as liberal towards him in the way of sense, as most of people, and I am in hopes that his sentence will be reconsidered, and his punishment abolished. I would request of you to send my old hat by the first opportunity as my present one is declining fast, it was a very indifferent one. Cousin Meade gave me three books, and (torn) and 2 for Jane Rolf, which I am in hopes she will be able to read with fluency, and if so I will certainly procure her promised present. I have arrived at the part of Nat. Philosophy which is considered the most difficult part of the course, namely, Astronomy, and although I consider it quite difficult, I must acknowledge it more or less pleasant, and I sincerely trust that the next, may at least, be my last College year, ond then I shall be able to enjoy the company of whose value, is the sole importance and consideration of this world to me, and in your next I must beg a history of your visit to Lynchburge and when my thirst for seeing you will be quenched, by a movement on one part or the other, though at present there is little probability of my visiting you, as I would be afraid during the warm month, and were I to put it off for the fall, then our vacation would be so near that it would scarcely be worth undertaking, and now I have arrived at the limits of my paper and having penned all the news I contain at present, I will bid you adieu, with love to all by assuring you of the unremitted attachment of one who professes and calls himself by the name of your affectionate Son

THOMAS BOLLING

THREE

Charlottesville 21st, April 1826

MY DEAR SIR

I avail myself of the first leasure moment I have had since my last letter to you to answer the remaining part of your favour of the 27th ult I regret [page 892:] exceedingly, that Thomas should have thought it necessary, to mention to you the occurrence between him and myself in relation to the fifty dollars deposited with me the last summer, because it shows that he still doubts whether or not I was satisfied as to the correctness of his statement. I had hoped that all his fears on that score had been removed by me upon our second interview upon the subject, and that he was perfectly satisfied with the reasons I then gave him accounting for my seeming forgetfulness and hesitation at the moment of his application for the money. The truth is that the length of time which elapsed between the deposit and his application and that time having been occupied by such a variety and multiplicity of business always pressing upon me, the deposit had escaped my recollection, and my hesitation at the moment, while I was endeavoring to refresh my recollection, I presume struck Thomas as doubts with me as to the deposit, yet without further hesitation I furnished him the money. Afterwards in reflecting upon the subject, I was enabled to recollect something of the circumstances, and upon seeing Thomas I hoped I had removed all uneasiness with him on that score. Since the receipt of your letter, I have refrained from renewing the matter to him least I might not be able by assurances to remove entirely his doubts in regard to it, and must ask your aid in accomplishing their removal. I assure you that I am perfectly satisfied with the statement he made to me of the deposit, although at the moment of his application for the money, I confess it had escaped my recollection, and while with Thomas (young as he is) such forgetfulness would seem unaccountable, yet to you, who knows the effect which a constant pressure of public and private business has upon our frail memories, such forgetfulness is excusable, and therefore it is that I ask your friendly aid, for I assure you it would be a source of no little uneasiness to me, to believe that Thomas still doubts my sincerity in the assurances already given him upon this subject.

While it is admitted that the delay already taken place in our intended visit to you and family, would seem to authorize you to insist on ‘no further continuances.’ Yet circumstances not under our command, may in spite of our most anchious wishes, controls our movements, and as they have heretofore been found so unyielding, I cannot but still hope that should they continue their obstinacy, we shall still find with you further indulgence, should unavoidable circumstances render the asking of it on our part indispensably necessary, we however at present hope we shall find it in our power to redeem our promise some time in June next in the mean time we need not add any further assurances of the pleasure we should receive from a visit so long and so anchiously wished for on our part. My family are in their usual good health, all of whom join in offering to yourself and Mrs. Bolling renewed assurances of affectionate regard, & I beg leave to repeat to you the most friendly and respectful regards with which I remain Yours most sincerely ALEN GARRETT

P. S. Thomas was with us two days ago. he is quite well. [page 893:]

FOUR

MR. WILLIAM BOLLING

In Account with UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

1818 April 1st To Installment due this day . . . .. . . .. . . ..$ 25.00

1819 April 1st “ ” “ ” “ . . . .. . . .. . . .. 25.00

1820 April 1st “ ” “ ” “ . . . .. . . .. . . .. 25.00

1821 April 1st “ ” “ ” “ . . . .. . . .. . . .. 25.00

$100.00

CR.

1818 March 23 By deposit in Bank of Va. . . .. . . .$25.00

1819 Sept. 30 “ ditto . . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . . . .. 25.00

1820 Oct. 24 “ ditto . . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . . . .. 25.00

75.00

Balance due $ 25.00

Charlottesville, Oct. 21, 1822

DEAR SIR

The Tuitors of the University having lately appointed me to Collect the balances due on Subscriptions: I take the liberty of making a statement of Your Acct. which you will Perceive above amounting to the sum of TwentyFive Dollars, and ask the favor of you, either to transmit to me by mail to this Place or deposit in the Bank of Va. Richmond to the Credit of the Bursar of the University the amt. As the Legislature will shortly meet it will afford a safe opportunity to forward the money by one of your representatives to be deposited in Bank as above. This course is desirable as it will save me the trouble and the University the expense of my waiting on you in Person.

Yrs. Respy.

G. THOMAS

Dec. 21, 1822 Then received of Col. Wm. Bolling Twenty-five Dollars on acct. of the above.

G. THOMAS

Colr.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - HVA26, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (H. Allen) (Appendix 07)