Text: Dwight R. Thomas, “Chapter 06: 1842,” Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (1978), pp. 307-487


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­ [page 307:]

CHAPTER VI: 1842

 

January, 1842

JANUARY: Graham’s Magazine publishes “An Appendix of Autographs,” the third and final installment of Poe’s “Autography.”

JANUARY: Graham’s Magazine publishes Poe’s “Exordium,” a treatise on literary criticism in which he strenuously objects to the theory that a native American literature must concern itself only with “strictly ‘American’ themes,” and to the practice of reviewers who offer “a digest or compendium of the work noticed, with copious extracts,” or a “diffuse essay upon the subject matter of the publication,” instead of a true analysis of the book —”a matter of time and of mental exertion.” For Poe no true literature can be “national”; the world at large is “the only proper stage for the literary histrio.” A review cannot be an essay or a sermon; it must analyze the book as “an art-product.”

JANUARY 1: In the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, col. 6, Joseph Evans Snodgrass finds that Graham’s Magazine for January represents a significant improvement over the December number: “We enjoyed a rich treat reading the poetry of Talfourd, Longfellow, ‘Amelia’ [Welby] and others, the ­[page 308:] other night — and we made a hearty supper with Poe’s devil-may-care criticisms. We cannot say that we like his views as well as his manner. If we do not forget it, we intend to put a question to him next week, with reference to his sensual notions of ‘happiness,’ and also with respect to his own and Arcturus’ positions with respect to ‘criticisms.’”

NOTE: In “Exordium” Poe had expressed his disagreement with the critical philosophy of Cornelius Mathews, one of the editors of Arcturus, a monthly magazine of high literary quality which was issued in New York City. Snodgrass did not mention this matter again, although he subsequently commented on Poe’s literary criticism (see the chronology for February 5 and April 2, 1842).

JANUARY 4: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, reports: “BY THE NEXT STEAM SHIP — Will arrive who? Why Boz — alias Dickens — one of the very cleverest of living writers. We honor him for he is a man of unquestionable genius.”

NOTE: During the first three months of 1842, John S. Du Solle’s newspaper carried dozens of articles describing Charles Dickens’ visit to the United States. Many of these items were from the pen of George Lippard, a young journalist whom Du Solle had recently employed (see the chronology for February 7, 1842).

JANUARY 5: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle satirizes the literary pretensions of Henry B. Hirst:

The New Year’s poet of the Philadelphia Chronicle devotes a stanza to our American poets. We have room for these four lines, and no more: ­[page 309:]

“O’er hearts, a MORRIS’s control,

The might of DAWES to wake your soul,

The like of DANA’s tempest burst,

The melody of H. B. HIRST.” — N. Y. Aurora.

When we mention that the New Year’s Poet alluded to was none other than the last mentioned gentleman himself, the melody of the stanza, and the “how us apples swim” selection, will be satisfactorily accounted for. Ahem!

JANUARY 10: Richard Bolton, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, writes Poe:

A press of business at the close of the year has delayed my reply to your very complimentary letter of Nov. 18. I expected too, that your succeeding number [of Graham’s Magazine ] would contain a correct print of the two cryptographs of Mr. Tyler, and I intended attempting their solution which I thought possible.

Mr. Reneau has just loaned me the January number of your magazine[,] my copy not having yet arrived and I find it unnecessary to delay any longer.

As to the process by which I effected the solution of Dr. Frailey’s cypher it is useless to repeat all my abortive efforts and guesses. Suffice it to say that from a comparison of various words reduced to syllables I ascertained the vowels and particularly e from its frequent use and u from its unfrequent [sic ] occurrence. I and a from their being used per se. If representing “ed” a common terminal syllable in long words next became known. Having advanced thus far the cipher fi-fvti and nia-fvti representing reduce and produce gave me a thread to the labyrinth after which my progress was comparatively easy. ITAGI did not as you suppose materially aid me. Having thus many links of the chain the links still wanting were supplied in making sense of -she article. Some of the words, I must admit gave me much trouble. The grammatical sequence of long and short words incident to language was of much assistance to me. Candour compels me to add that had the letters been continuous and not divided into words I should probably have failed. I therefore pay homage to you as King of Secret Readers.

Bolton discusses the principles of cryptography at length, and he proposes a cipher which is “certainly read with the ­[page 310:] key and insoluble without it.”

NOTE: This letter was published in the Memphis, Tennessee, Commercial Appeal, November 15, 1925, Section IV, p. 7.

JANUARY 10: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell, stating that he has not been able to visit Boston because of illness: “Graham has been sick for three weeks, and before he was wholly recovered I also became ill. We were thus unwell together, and our business, at this important season of the year, got behindhand. This . . . . will force me to defer the pleasure of seeing you.” Peterson will be happy to receive contributions to Graham’s Magazine from Lowell’s friend, William Wetmore Story: “I should prefer prose, but he can send what he likes. We pay from ten to twenty five dollars for prose articles according to the subject and the popularity of the writer. When we pay by the page we give three dollars.” Peterson adds: “The tone of your letters are [is] like sunshine — they make the heart glow. I long to see you, but seem to know you already. You will see that I have rhapsodized about you in the Jan[uar]y mag — no: not rhapsodized, but only spoken what I feel, &what all honest men will acknowledge to be true.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. William Wetmore Story (1819-1895), a Massachusetts poet and sculptor, spent most of his life in Italy.

JANUARY 10: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle replies to the Boston Daily Times:

MR. POE’s AUTOGRAPHY. — The editor of the “Boston Times,” who is indignant at our calling him an “afflicted genius,” (for which we beg his pardon, as he really is no genius of any kind,) takes us to task, in quite a cavalier tone, for having dared to defend Mr. Poe from his disingenious and scurrillous attacks — attacks which have elicited rebuke not only from ourselves, and two or three other papers of this city, but from many other journals throughout the country, and which have been repudiated, in effect, even by its own immediate friends and neighbours. Never dreaming that any one may be actuated by honest motives, the “Times” is at great pains to imagine a reason for the few comments we made, and can find none better than the following passage in the second “Chapter on Autography”:

“Mr. Du Solle is well known through his connection with the’spirit of the Times.’ His prose is forcible and often excellent in other respects. As a poet he is entitled to higher consideration. Some of his Pindaric pieces are unusually good, and it may be doubted if we have a better versifier in America.”

And these few words of commendation, (which assuredly do not amount to much, and would seem insufficient to drive any man mad through vanity,) have been regarded as our motive in this matter. — But, we may well ask — is it permitted to no one of the numerous individuals who happen to have been favorably noticed in these articles, to rebut the malignant and ignorant slanders of the “Times,” lest, peradventure, that print should accuse him of interested motive? And now while we think of it, Mr. Park Benjamin stands especially well in the opinion of him of the “Times.” It was not more than a week ago that we saw in the “Notion,” an elaborate defence of Mr. B. from the attack of some Southern paper. The defence spoke of the high moral standing, fine taste and judgment, and “all that sort of thing,” of the editor of the “World”; and we have not the slightest intention of hinting that the “Times” proceeded upon-the-tickle-me-and-I’ll-tickle-you-system. On the contrary, we respect the ability of Mr. Benjamin. But it happens that this gentleman, not long ago, took occasion to speak of these very autograph articles, and of their author, in the same connection, as “a. vigorous and able writer, and most distinguished critic.” Now we repeat that we have a high opinion of the judgment and honor of Mr. Benjamin — and so has the editor of theTimes,” his own showing. But is not this something of a gnarl? We should like to see the “Times” disentangle it! ­[page 312:]

As regards its opinion of ourself, it is really a point of no consequence. Mr. Poe has thought proper to speak well of us in certain respects. That Mr. P. has expressed his honest opinion, we are as sure as we are that the “Times” is no judge of honesty. The question then, upon this point, resolves itself into a nut-shell. It is nothing more than opinion against opinion — Mr. Poe against the “Times.” Now Mr. Poe is well known and appreciated. At all events, he is no anonymous and skulking defamer. The editor of the “Boston Times”! Who, in the name of Beelzebub, is the editor of the “Boston Times”? Who, or what, even, is the “Boston Times” itself?-and of what possible consequence, to any living being, can be the opinion of the “Boston Times,” except to the “Boston Times” in its own individuality?

NOTE: The Boston Daily Times and the Boston Notion were published by George Roberts (1807-1860). Poe’s remarks on Du Solle appeared in the December installment of “Autography”; he had praised Park Benjamin, the editor of the New World, in the November installment. Benjamin’s notice of “Autography” is reproduced in the chronology for October 23, 1841.

JANUARY 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports that Lambert A. Wilmer plans to issue a new magazine, to be entitled Wilmer’s Monthly Tourist, in June, 1842. This periodical will offer “manly and original reading” without pictorial embellishments, and will cost $2.50 per year. “The editor is known to the world of literature as a gentleman of acknowledged and undoubted talent.”

NOTE: Additional information on Wilmer’s magazine may be found in his March 9 and October 5, 1842, letters to John Tomlin. ­[page 313:]

JANUARY 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, carries a brief item: “APPOINTED CHAPLAIN — Mr. Rufus Griswold, of the (we believe) Philadelphia Gazette, has assumed the duties of the ministerial office, and been appointed Chaplain in the U. S. Navy[.] Salary, $2,000.”

JANUARY 13: The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. l, reports:

We see it stated in some of the papers that Mr. Rufus Griswold, of the Philadelphia Gazette, has assumed the ministerial office and has been appointed Chaplain in the Navy, the salary of which is $2000. He is, we doubt not, well qualified for the post, and not the less fitted for occupying it effectively from having had a chance to study human nature from the editorial chair. If this rumor be true, the whig press of Philadelphia numbers two Chaplains among its conductors, Mr. [Walter] Colton of the North American being the other.

JANUARY 13: The Philadelphia Gazette, p. 2, col. 1, reports: “THE PENNSYLVANIAN is in error, or the paper from which it derives its authority, in stating that Mr. Griswold is the editor of this Gazette. Mr. G. during its change, had the care of it for a few weeks, and conducted it with much ability, but he has at present no connexion with it. Nor has he been appointed a chaplain in the Navy . . . . .”

NOTE: The Philadelphia Gazette, which appeared in the afternoon, was correcting a report carried on the same day by The Pennsylvanian, a morning paper. On January 14 The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, retracted its January 12 report. Although Griswold was never an active clergyman, he had obtained a license as a Baptist minister in 1837; and he kept the title of “Reverend” throughout his life. He was seeking a chaplainship aboard a naval vessel because he believed that a sea voyage might restore his health, now being undermined by tuberculosis. ­[page 314:]

JANUARY 13: In reviewing the January number of Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion for The Index, p. 3, col. 4, Jesse E. Dow again criticizes English: “We are sorry to say, however,

that friend Snowden considers Thomas Dunn English, M.D., a prominent contributor. We should smuggle him through as softly as possible, if we were Snowden, or rather we should not smuggle him at all.”

JANUARY 13-14: Frederick William Thomas writes Poe:

Washington[,] January 13. 1842.

My dear friend —

I trust, for the sake of the regard, which, I believe, you entertain for me, that you have been wondering why long ere this I have not answered your last letter. I had hoped to wish you a happy new year in Philadelphia, but the fates ordained it otherwise-And instead of the cordial greeting I had expected to find and receive hand in hand I must be content with the colder one of a letter. —

I thought I had made arrangements whereby about the middle of last month I might visit Philadelphia, and spend a week or two — but I was prevented by being compelled to attend to my duties here, for the meeting of Congress has accumulated the papers upon my desk faster than I expected-

I have felt the truth of your advice about the study of the french [sic ] — My teacher thinks that I can easily acquire the pronunciation, but I fear fear [sic ] it will tax m industry fearfully to master the language gram[m]atically. — I believe that if I were thrown among the French that I could learn it orally, much sooner than one who by book would beat me by all odds. —

January 14,

My dear Poe, just as I had finished the word “odds” above[,] I was taken off to “schedule” some fellows’ claims to office — Think of it in comparison to the “primrose path of dalliance” in literature — but that “primrose path of dalliance” how beset with the thorns of poverty — and there’s the consolation. Many thanks ­[page 315:] to you for your kind notice of me among your autographs-I owe you one —

I see that Ingraham is accused of having stolen his novel of Lafitte in the Knickerbocker, which charge Prentice copies and blows a blast upon against Ingraham. There must be some mistake about this — for Ingraham wrote Lafitte in Cincinnati to my certain knowledge for he read to me every evening what he had written through the day — However some one may have given him the hint — I remember distinctly his requesting me to introduce him to a gentleman who knew Lafitte and who could give him some information concerning that [illegible] pirate. Poe how do you get on with Graham? Let me know how the world thrives with you —

Dow is well and cheerful[.] I saw him yesterday, but somehow I don’t think he gets on as well as when in office — He is a violent politician as you see by his paper —

My sister was well when I last heard from her and she spoke of you and your family to whom you must present my and her regards — Write me soon — For nothing but the expectation of seeing you face to face would would [sic ] have delayed my writing to you so long-but disappointment is the lot “of all on us” as the chap says in the play —

God bless you —

F W Thomas.

My sister’s and my regards to your family — Do you read the political articles in the “New World”? Savage — aren[’]t they? I wonder if Benjamin writes them?

Write soon —

F W Thomas.

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. Joseph Holt Ingraham’s novel Lafitte; or, The Pirate of the Gulf appeared in 1836. Thomas was especially close to his sister Frances Ann.

JANUARY 17: Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia writes Edwin P. Whipple, a Boston author: “I have passed the 300th page of the book, [The Poets and Poetry of America ] and am ­[page 316:] plodding on with it pretty well; but I lack information in regard to one or two men, who hail from Boston. Do you know C. P. Cranch? . . . . And there is Rev. James F. Clarke . . . . and last, can you write me a sketch of James Russell Lowell, for whom I have some regard.” Griswold inquires after his former employer George Roberts, publisher of the Boston Notion: “How gets on Roberts. I have something for him: Last Week I was in Washington, and in the museum of the National Institution — a splendid collection — I assure you — what think you I saw? Nothing less than the big leviathan quadruple ‘Notion,’ in a case! Isn’t that an approach to glory?”

NOTE: MS, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892) and James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) were leaders in the Transcendentalist movement. Information on Griswold’s association with the Boston Notion is entered in the chronology for April 23, ante May 8, and August 18, 1841. Griswold’s visit to Washington in early January was probably connected with his unsuccessful attempt to obtain a chaplainship in the United States Navy (see the chronology for December 27, January 12, 13, and March 9, 1842).

CIRCA JANUARY 20: While singing Virginia Poe begins to hemorrhage from the lungs. She becomes dangerously ill; the Philadelphia physicians who are called to treat her hold little hope for her recovery.

NOTE: Poe described his wife’s illness in his February 3, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas, dating its onslaught as “About a fortnight since.” Pulmonary hemorrhaging is a characteristic symptom of tuberculosis, or consumption (as it was then called); Virginia Poe was to ­[page 317:] die from this disease on January 30, 1847. In his January 4, 1848, letter to George W. Eveleth (Letters, II, 356), Poe stated that Virginia’s prolonged illness with its “horrible never-ending oscillation between hope &despair” caused him to seek solace in excessive drinking:

Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in singing. Her life was despaired of. I took leave of her forever &underwent all the agonies of her death. She recovered partially and I again hoped. At the end of a year the vessel broke again — I went through precisely the same scene. Again in about a year afterward. Then again — again — again &even once again at varying intervals. Each time I felt all the agonies of her death — and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly &clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive — nervous in a very unusual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I: drank, God only knows how often or how much.

Poe discussed Virginia’s recurrent hemorrhages in his June, 1842, letter to James Herron and in his August 27, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas. Another account of her sudden illness in January, 1842, may be found in the reminiscence which Amanda B. Harris published in Hearth and Home in 1875; this is reprinted in the directory. Poe’s friend Dr. John Kearsley Mitchell was almost certainly one of the physicians who attended Virginia at this time. According to Thomas Holley Chivers’ testimony in Chivers’ Life of Poe, ed. Richard Beale Davis (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1952), pp. 42-44, Dr. Mitchell euphemistically diagnosed her condition as “the Bronchitis.”

JANUARY 20: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, John S. Du Solle alludes to Henry B. Hirst: “HAD AN ORIGINAL IDEA — Our friend, the ‘golden-haired’ poet, yesterday. ­[page 318:] Stick a pin there.”

NOTE: Du Solle had his tongue in cheek when he attributed originality to Hirst, whose poems were modeled after those of other poets, especially Poe. In his youth Hirst had flowing red hair.

JANUARY 26: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports that “Boz is in Boston, where they will play the Dickens with him.”

JANUARY 27: In the evening approximately “forty of the most distinguished literary and official gentlemen of New York” meet at the Astor House “to determine upon some appropriate honors to the author of the Pickwick Papers.” They decide to honor Charles Dickens by holding “a most magnificent ball” at the Park Theatre: “The affair is to be on a grand scale, the whole of the theatre to be laid out as a pavillion[;] and tableau vivant, selected from all Dicken’s [sic ] novels, are to be exhibited. The tickets to this soiree are to be only ten dollars each!”

NOTE: This entry is provided by a report in The Spirit of the Times, January 29, p. 2, col. 3.

JANUARY 29: In the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, col. 5, Joseph Evans Snodgrass criticizes Frederick William Thomas for publishing his “Retrospections of Baltimore” in a recent number of the Boston Notion under the heading “Written for the Notion.” Snodgrass explains: “it had appeared previously, first in ‘Clinton Bradshaw’ — and next in the ‘Monthly Museum,’ while we were conducting it-always as original. Men of small capital must make good use of their small change.” ­[page 319:]

NOTE: In 1838 and 1839 Snodgrass had been one of the editors of the Baltimore American Museum; for additional evidence that he was unimpressed by Thomas’ abilities, see the chronology for November 25, 1843.

February, 1842

FEBRUARY: Graham’s Magazine publishes Poe’s “Harper’s Ferry,” a prose sketch illustrating the frontispiece.

NOTE: This plate article has been attributed to Poe by Burton R. Pollin, “Poe As Probable Author of ‘Harper’s Ferry,’” American Literature, 40 (1968), 164-78.

FEBRUARY: Graham’s Magazine publishes Poe’s devastating critique of Cornelius Mathews’ Wakondah, a rambling attempt at an American epic poem. Poe finds that “‘Wakondah,’ then, from beginning to end, is trash. With the trivial exceptions which we shall designate, it has no merit whatever; while its faults, more numerous than the leaves of Vallombrosa, are of that rampant class which, if any schoolboy could be found so uninformed as to commit them, any schoolboy should be remorselessly flogged for committing.”

FEBRUARY: Graham’s Magazine Publishes Poe’s lengthy review of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge. Poe gives a detailed summary of the novel’s plot, emphasizing that he had correctly predicted the denouement in a “prospective notice “ in the Saturday Evening Post of May 1, 1841 .

FEBRUARY 1: Charles Dickens is entertained at a large dinner in Boston. Over two hundred persons attend this event, which is “unprecedented in the annals of literature”: ­[page 320:]

“A young man has crossed the ocean with no hereditary title, no military laurels, no princely fortune, and yet his approach is hailed with pleasure by every age and condition, and on his arrival he is welcomed as a long known and highly valued friend.” Richard Henry Dana, Jr., George Bancroft, and “other literary gentlemen” deliver addresses in Dickens’ honor.

NOTE: A lengthy report of the “Grand Festival in Boston-Dinner to Charles Dickens, Esq.” was published by The Spirit of the Times, February 7, p. 1, col. 4. An eyewitness account of Dickens’ reception in Boston may be found in The Journal of Richard Henry Dana, Jr., ed. Robert F. Lucid (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968), I, 56-61.

FEBRUARY 3: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas, explaining his “seeming neglect in not replying” to his friend’s letter of January 13 and 14: “My dear little wife has been dangerously 3:11. About a fortnight since, in singing, she ruptured a blood-vessel, and it was only on yesterday that the physicians gave me any hope of her recovery. You might imagine the agony I have suffered, for you know how devotedly I love her. But to-day the prospect brightens, and I trust that this bitter cup of misery will not be my portion.” Poe’s relationship with George R. Graham has apparently begun to deteriorate: “On the morning subsequent; to the accident I called upon him, and, being entirely out of his debt, asked an advance of two months salary — when he not only flatly but discourteously refused. Now that man knows that I have rendered him the most important services . . . . .” Poe continues: “If, instead of a paltry salary, Graham had given me a tenth of his Magazine, I should. feel myself a rich man to-day. When ­[page 321:] he bought out Burton, the joint circulation was 4,500, and we have printed of the February number last, 40,000. Godey, at the period of the junction, circulated 30,000, and, in spite of the most strenuous efforts, has not been able to prevent his list from falling. I am sure that he does not print more than 30,000 to-day. His absolute circulation is about 20,000. Now Godey, in this interval, has surpassed Graham in all the externals of a good Magazine. His paper is better, his type far better, and his engravings fully as good . . . . .” The “Autography” articles “have had a great run” and “have done wonders for the Journal”; but Poe fears that they may have harmed his reputation as a critic: “I was weak enough to permit Graham to modify my opinions (or at least their expression) in many of the notices. In the case of Conrad, for example; he insisted upon praise and worried me into speaking well of such ninnies as Holden, Peterson, Spear,&c.,&c.” Poe still hopes to issue his own magazine, and he believes that Thomas may be able to aid this project: “You are personally acquainted with Robert Tyler, author of ‘Ahasuerus.’ In this poem there are many evidences of power, and, what is better, of nobility of thought &feeling. In reading it, an idea struck me —’Might it not,’ I thought, ‘be possible that he would, or rather might be induced to feel some interest in my contemplated scheme . . . .?’ The Magazine might be made to play even an important part in the politics of the day, like Blackwood; and in this view might be worthy his consideration. Could you contrive to suggest the matter to him? Provided I am permitted a proprietary right in the journal, I shall not be very particular about the extent of that right.” In answer to Thomas’ question, Poe states that Park Benjamin does not write the political papers in the New World, although he does not know who does. He does ­[page 322:] not care for Benjamin: “He is too thorough-souled a time-server. I would not say again what I said of him in the ‘Autography.’” Poe asks Thomas whether he has read the review of Barnaby Rudge in the February number of Graham’s: “You see that I was right throughout in my predictions about the plot.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 191-93. In his September 1, 1841, letter to Thomas, Poe stated that when Graham purchased Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, “the joint circulation [of Burton’s and The Casket ] was only 5000”; this figure is probably more reliable than the different one he gives here. Robert T. Conrad, Ezra Holden, Thomas G. Spear, and Charles J. Peterson were all Philadelphia literati. Robert Tyler, the eldest son of President John Tyler, was a friend of Thomas and a minor poet.

FEBRUARY 3: The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 4, reports on “BOZ-TOWN. — The Dickens excitement still continues. A ten dollar dinner has been given him by the empty-headed aristocracy. The Democratic dinner will be at a price that common. sense men can afford to give and will no doubt be more in accordance with the feelings of Boz.”

NOTE: The “ten dollar dinner” was to be held in New York City on February 14. The equalitarian views expressed here would have been warmly endorsed by George Lippard, the young radical reformer who probably authored most of the reports of Dickens’ visit published by The Spirit (see the chronology for February 7).

FEBRUARY 4: The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, cols. 45, describes at length New York City’s preparations for its “WELCOME TO CHARLES DICKENS.” The New Yorkers are “deter mined to take the lead in doing honor to the illustrious ­[page 323:] author and stranger to our shores.” On February 14 a grand ball will be held at the Park Theatre, which “will doubtless be the most munificent affair ever known in America.” The Spirit describes “the contemplated decorations and devices for the ball room”; and it lists, in order, the twenty-five “dances and tableaux vivant” which will provide part of the evening’s entertainment. The Spirit asks: “What are the Philadelphians doing. Are we to have nothing of the kind in this splendid city. . . . . We have the material in this city for a splendid affair — our women are beautiful, our people liberal, and our public halls spacious and magnificent. We hope immediate steps will be taken to carry something worthy of Philadelphia into immediate operation. Who will lead in the matter?”

NOTE: John S. Du Solle was probably the author of this article; George Lippard disapproved of the manner in which Dickens had been welcomed in Boston and New York, and he would not have recommended that Philadelphia likewise offer “a splendid affair.”

FEBRUARY 5: In reviewing the February number of Graham’s Magazine for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, cols. 5-6, Joseph Evans Snodgrass astutely comments on this journal’s editorship:

Graham announces too many editors — if they be really editors! We find the names of Mrs. A. S. Stevens [sic ], Mrs. Embury, Mr. Peterson, besides Messrs. Poe and Graham. So many cooks will spoil his broth for him. In the way of the critical dishes, we want no French or, fashionable cooks. Poe is sufficient. He may give homely fare, but it will be honestly served. We are glad to find that, owning to the aforenamed arrangement, or some other cause, Mr. Poe has given real reviews this month. All the better. Give him room. He will do much good. We want just such fearless fellows. . . . . ­[page 324:]

FEBRUARY 7: Writing under the pseudonym of “Flib,” George Lippard castigates his countrymen for Dickens-worship in The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2:

The ‘Boz’ Fever in Philadelphia

Sober, quiet, steady Philadelphia has waked up at last! Boston has gone mad — New York crazy — and we suspect Philadelphia is about to become one vast hospital of Boz-Bedlamites.

We are both glad and sorry to see this manifestation of public feeling . . . . . Charles Dickens is, we are told, the man of the age! . . . . Scott handled a very able pen, and wrote some readable things; but the public have displayed a power and a holier taste, the literati say, and Sir Walter, Fielding, Smollet[t], all must yield to Boz!! The “small potato” literati of our country insist upon it, and who shall gainsay their judgment?

Dickens is an Englishman. — Here are further grounds upon which to build the Temple of American worship. He comes from a foreign land, and that which is foreign must be good. He comes with his fame going before him like a “pillar of fire,” and it is right that due veneration should be observed on the occasion. It is right that our knees should be properly instructed in their genuflections. . . . . It is right — it is proper — it is creditable — and all, well-disposed persons, should raise the hymn of adoration; and those little dogs who are not fitted to take a leading part in the grand bow-wow, may at least insinuate a respectful bark in the chorus.

But jesting apart, we are sick of all this humbug. The farce has gone far enough; let us cut it short before the regular five acts of folly have been enacted. . . . . Let us dine Boz — let us feed Boz — but do not let us lick his dish after he has eaten out of it.

As Americans, as men of common sense, and decent self-respect, we take our stand agains[t] the “Boz” excitement. It is discreditable to our city, it is derogatory to our country, and we call upon our citizens to recollect the names of Marryatt and a ­[page 325:] Martineau, before they make entire and decided judies of themselves. “Boz” is a great man, and nobody can deny it. He is all that, but he isn’t exactly a demigod. . . . . He is entitled to decent respect and regard; not to worship and adoration. This is the stand we take in the matter, and we are sure the correct opinion of an intelligent public will bear us out in our views of the subject.

NOTE: This lengthy article was the first of Lippard’s “Boz in Philadelphia” satires; the other installments are entered in the chronology for February 10, 16, 18, 24, and March 9, 10, 1842. In later life George Lippard became famous as an advocate of social reform and as the author of The Quaker City (1844), a sensational Gothic novel set in Philadelphia; in the early months of 1842 he was an untried nineteen-year-old journalist. Lippard is also remembered for his loyal friendship with Poe; the two men were presumably acquainted by late 1841 or early 1842. The office of The Spirit of the Times was located at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Third Streets, across from the office of Graham’s Magazine at the southwest corner. According to-E. W. C. Greene’s sketch of Lippard in the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury, March 5, 1854, p. 1, cols. 6-8, this young Philadelphian began his literary career when he joined the staff of The Spirit in “the fall of 1841”: “His quaint sayings, humorous chapters, and pungent paragraphs, soon made that paper sought after by all who could appreciate a clever joke, or a piquant recital of the doings of the world. around them.” In “Philadelphia and the Philadelphians in 1850,” Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch, September 8, 1850, p. 1, cols. 1-2, September 22, p. 1, cols. 2-4, and October 6, p. l, cols. 1-2, Thompson Westcott identified “Flib” as the principal pseudonym Lippard used when writing for The Spirit. Westcott also identified him as the author of “The Bread Crust Papers,” ­[page 326:] a satire on Henry B. Hirst and Thomas Dunn English which The Spirit began to publish on March 22, 1842 (see the chronology). The “Boz in Philadelphia” articles — with their equalitarianism and patriotism, their youthful intensity and sententiousness, and their furious indignation and biting satire — are characteristically Lippard’s work. The “Marryatt and a Martineau” whom he mentioned in the first installment were Frederick Marryat (1792-1848) and Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), two English authors who visited the United States and then wrote unflattering books about their experiences. Charles Dickens was similarly to record his impressions in American Notes (1842), a book which angered many American readers.

FEBRUARY 8: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, congratulating him on his admission to “the honorable fraternity of the Suffolk Bar.” Peterson has noticed severe criticisms of Lowell’s work in the Boston Post, and he believes that this critic is “only eager to win notoriety by seeming to be singular, he wishes to be thought witty for what is only coarseness.” The opinions of the Boston Post carry little weight among the Philadelphia literati: “Rosaline is a fine poem. Poe, Griswold, all of us say so. In the March no. [of Graham’s Magazine ] in a review of Longfellow, Poe, after doing justice to you, says of Rosaline ‘that no American poem equals it in the higher elements of song.’ Griswold has taken it for his ‘American poets’ — a splendid work soon to be published and in which he assures me he will do you justice.” Peterson discusses the Dickens visit: “You Bostonians have been feasting Boz — what think you of him? I like him quite as much for his benevolence as for his genius. He has a tear for’sad, suffering humanity.’ I am afraid, however, that he will be bored to death by small literati. One or two ­[page 327:] things at the young men’s dinner reminded me of scenes in his works.” Peterson asks Lowell to send another poem for Graham’s Magazine; he adds: “Poe wishes to be remembered to you.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. According to Martin Duberman, James Russell Lowell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966), pp. 37-38, Lowell was admitted to the bar in 1842; he then opened his own law office, which was not a financial success. Lowell’s poem “Rosaline” had appeared in the February number of Graham’s Magazine. The Boston “young men’s dinner” is discussed in the chronology for February 1.

FEBRUARY 9: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, reports: “GETTING TO BE RIDICULOUS. — The Boz fever in New York. Every ticket for the Dickens’ Ball at the Park has already been sold, and premiums of $20 have been offered for single seats which could not be negotiated. All the fashionable folks, soap-locks, small literateurs, are going mad under the excitement of the occasion. Full three thousand persons will no doubt be present at the Ball.”

FEBRUARY 10: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 2, George Lippard comments on Philadelphia’s preparations to welcome Charles Dickens:

“BOZ” IN PHILADELPHIA. — The [Pennsylvania] Inquirer of yesterday morning contained the following paragraph: —

A “True Philadelphian” is informed that an invitation to a Complimentary Dinner, has already been forwarded to “Boz” from this city.

This is stale news. We stated the same fact on Monday last, and gave a copy of the letter forwarded. The whole matter, so far, has been secretly managed, and by a clique of “small potato” gentlemen, who ­[page 328:] arrogate to themselves the title of the “literati” of Philadelphia.

We hope Mr. Dickens will not suffer himself to be imposed upon in this manner. The citizens of Philadelphia — the poor as well as the rich — who admire his genius, would be glad to take him by the hand, and would rejoice in being able in any decorous way, of exhibiting their respect for him. But they are not ready to fawn upon him like a whipped spaniel — nor do we think he would expect it. They are not ready to cringe, and stoop, and kiss the dust off his boots — nor do we believe he could relish such insipid adulation. In perusing, therefore, the letter from our city, we trust he will not imagine all Philadelphians donkeys, but will properly appreciate the ambitious character of those “small potatoes” who, to use the language of the New York Courier, (the editor of which has publicly backed out of the Boz excitement,) exhibit such an “overweening disposition to make themselves ridiculous.”

We hope the “literati” of the “Tickle-me-and-I’ll-tickle-you-Club,” of our city will be the first that Boz will “show up” when he gets home; and lest he should not be aware of who [sic ] he will have to deal with here, we sent him a copy of our last Monday’s Times, and send him another of to-days.

NOTE: For the Monday, February 7, installment of “Boz in Philadelphia,” Lippard had invented a comic letter in which Dickens was invited to a “social banquet” by a committee of Philadelphia literati.. Such an invitation was in fact extended to the British novelist, but he declined it (see the chronology for February 15, 1842).

FEBRUARY 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 5, reports: “RAVING MAD. — The New Yorkers about ‘Boz.’ He is the whole town talk! ‘Boz’ —’The Ball’ —’Dickens,’ is in the mouths [sic ] of every human creature — man, woman, and child. On Monday the great Ball comes off at the Park Theatre. The sale of tickets were [sic ] closed several ­[page 329:] days ago. . . . . The applications for tickets beat Molly Jones’ bed-bugs, all to nothing in number. From $50 to $100 have been offered for a single set, by fellows that had more money than brains.” The Spirit adds that three dozen painters and carpenters are now working to prepare the Park Theatre for the ball: “The decorations alone will cost $2000.”

FEBRUARY 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports: “QUITE GREEN YET — Boz. He was thirty years old on Tuesday last.”

FEBRUARY 14: Charles Dickens is the guest of honor at a public ball held at the Park Theatre and attended by over two thousand New Yorkers from every level of society.

NOTE: The Spirit of the Times published two lengthy descriptions entitled “The Great Boz Ball in New York.” On February 15 The Spirit, p. 2, col. 4, found the ball to be a “truly magnificent affair”: “Never was such a fete before given in the American Union. If Boz had been a very God, he could not have received more adulation and worship. The glory of New York was present on this most auspicious occasion — and the display of jewellery, rich dresses, and smiling faces, was beyond all precedent.” John S. Du Solle may have written this first account; but George Lippard recorded his own distinctive impressions in the second article, which appeared in The Spirit, February 16, p. 1, col. 5: “This most extraordinary, fashionable, brilliant, unique, grotesque, enchanting, bewitching, confounding, eye-dazzling, heart-delighting, superb, foolish and ridiculous fete came off, (in sporting parlance,) at the Park Theatre, New York, on Monday evening last.” After describing at length the guests, the decorations, the ­[page 330:] dances, and the refreshments, the author of this second report passed judgment on the “Great Boz Ball” in his concluding sentence: “Such was the tom-foolery of silly minded Americans, and such the ridiculous homage paid to a foreigner, who will in all probability return home and write a book abusing the whole nation for the excesses of a few consummate blockheads.”

FEBRUARY 14: John N. McJilton writes Poe, enclosing a translation from the French by Miss Esther Wetherald, a Baltimore author, for possible publication in Graham’s Magazine. McJilton states that Miss Wetherald is willing to provide additional translations, and he suggests that the editors of the magazine furnish her with French periodicals.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Poe’s March 13 reply.

FEBRUARY 15 [?]: Charles Dickens writes a Committee of Philadelphia Gentlemen, declining their invitation to attend a public dinner in his honor. He explains that his stay in Philadelphia will be short, and that he wishes to see the people.

NOTE: This letter was described in the Daily Chronicle and the Philadelphia Gazette for February 16, 1842. The summary of contents, the dating, and the bibliographical references are found in the Pilgrim Edition of The Letters of Charles Dickens, Volume Three: 1842-1843, ed. Madeline House, Graham Storey, and Kathleen Tillotson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), p. 63. The editors note that on February 15 Dickens was “exhausted by the Boz Ball and ill with his sore throat.” ­[page 331:]

FEBRUARY 15[?]: Charles Dickens writes a Committee of the Young Men of Baltimore, declining their invitation to attend a public dinner in his honor.

NOTE: The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 63.

FEBRUARY 16: Writing in The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, George Lippard warns his Boz-worshipping countrymen that Dickens will find them fit subjects for satire in his future works:

Boz in Philadelphia.

The Boz fever seems to be at its highest point. Boston has been mad for two weeks. New York is raging with the Bozphobia [-philia?], and Philadelphia seems expected to follow the example of these cities. But she will not come up to such expectations. Small potato literateurs, penny a liners, Tickle-me-and I’ll-tickle-you Clubs may write letters to Boz; they may talk as big about “exclusiveness” as they please; they may puff each other into notice by a series of fictions, as pleasurable as they are extraordinary, but it will not do. The mass (and to whom but the mass are the writings of Boz adapted?) will respect, but they will not worship, Charles Dickens.

This folly is as unjust to our people as a nation, as it is injurious to Boz as an author. When sober-minded folks see whole crowds of grey-haired men[,] prattling women, and literary infants prostrating themselves before the shrine of Dickens with all the gusts of a golden-calf idolatry, the inquiry will be provoked, “what has this man done to merit all this worship?” How will the question be answered? By a reaction of public opinion. By the same abuse and ridicule that, assailed Marryatt, that reviled Martineau, when they cleverly “took off” those follies which we had so officiously presented to their inspection.

Charles Dickens does not come to this country for nothing. Don’t encourage that idea. He is gathering materials for a succession of new works. How will the American character be represented in these productions now in embryo? The hollow-hearted fashionable will take the place of the position occupied by the honest mechanic, the tradesman, or the merchant,[;] the ­[page 332:] heartless, simpering made-up belle, will be pictured as the personification of the American female character; the poor, wishy-washy paltry rhym[e]ster will stand as a representation of the soul of American thought, which is now diffused in the thousand student-cells of our country, not exposed in the glare and bustle of a ball room; and thus on to the end of the homily. Boz will picture the froth, the bubble, and the foam of American character; the deep, the clear and the powerful stream which lies beneath this counterfeit surface, will escape his attention, and the Americans will have another lesson taught them of the “Marryatt kind.”

Gentle fashionables, sweet rhym[e]sters, magnificent literati [,] we have one more question to ask ye, and we have done.

When Charles Dickens sat in his lonely garret, in his thread-bare coat, composing his first “sketch,” when his cheek was hollowed, and his lip was whitened by starvation, who, out of all your brilliant crowd, would have given the poor boy a crust of bread?

NOTE: This installment of the “Boz in Philadelphia” series is reproduced in its entirety, because it contains Lippard’s most coherent explanation of his objections to the Dickens idolatry and his perceptive forecast of American Notes. A faith in the common sense of the “mass” was one of the major tenets of this young reformer’s social philosophy. In alluding to the plight of the young writer in a garret “his cheek was hollowed . . . . by starvation” — Lippart may be describing his own experiences rather than those of Dickens.

FEBRUARY 17: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, discussing various reactions to the blistering critique of Cornelius Mathews’ Wakondah that Poe published in the February number of Graham’s Magazine:

Poe laughed heartily when I told him you thought that he had a pique against Wakondah &its author. He says he pleads guilty as to the poem, but asks for a nolle prosequi so far as Matthews [sic ] is concerned. He thinks the poem is on a par with ­[page 333:] Sheridan’s statesmanship as Brougham describes it-”neither good, bad, nor indifferent, but no statesmanship at all.” Matthews is a sociable kind-hearted man &has many friends: so the criticism has woke up quite a tempest. I understand he has said that, if he ever gets a chance, he will not spare Poe. Poe sends his respects &says that he never allows personal love or hate to warp his criticisms.

Peterson has arranged for a favorable review of Lowell in Graham’s as “an offset” to the attacks on him by the Boston Post: “I will tell you that a friend of yours here, at my request, has written an article on you &poetry in general, which I shall put in a prominent place in the April number. This will reach 40,000 subscribers — for that number we print without any humbug, to use a cant phrase here.” Peterson fears that Lowell and his friend William Wetmore Story are abolitionists: “if so the south will never think you geniuses, that is if they find it out. But I suppose, as honest men, you care nothing for them. We stand on neutral ground here — though we don’t quite throw up our caps &shout as either party are victors, like some neutral folks do. I read a fine sonnett [sic ] from you in the Liberty Bell. Wallace, a young poet of some genius from Ky, declares he would think it glorious if he was certain that you were not an ‘abominable’ abolitionist.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Cornelius Mathews was not vindictive: in the May, 1842, number of Arcturus, he praised Poe’s abilities as a critic. The Liberty Bell was an abolitionist annual issued in Boston. William Ross Wallace, a Kentucky poet living in New York City, contributed several poems to Graham’s Magazine in 1842; he was a friend of Poe (see the chronology for July 18 and August 27, 1842). ­[page 334:]

FEBRUARY 17: The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 5, carries another item of “Boziana.” George Lippard records his opinion that “The Boz ball, no doubt, was the most extraordinary affair of the kind, that has ever occurred in any age of the world. A greater congregation of fools, blockheads, and literary donkies was never, in all probability, before collected together.” He believes that

“our entire nation must now come under the lash of foreign lampooners, because of the egregious buffoonery of our literary monkeys, par-excellence.”

FEBRUARY 17: The Spirit of the Times, p. l, col. 5, reports: “FOUND A GRAVE — At the Boz Ball, New York, on Monday night last, — 55,000 oysters, 10,000 sandwiches, 40 hams, 200 turkies, ducks, and chickens, 2,000 mutton chops, 1 barrel of chicken salad, 300 quarts of ice cream, 2 hogsheads of lemonade, 150 gallons of Madeira and other wines, besides other things in proportion. Tall eating!”

FEBRUARY 18: The Spirit of the Times, p. l, col. 4, publishes “Boz in Philadelphia — His Letter to the’small Potatoes.’” For this installment George Lippard has composed a bogus Dickens letter, in which the great Boz declines “the invitation of the pseudo-literati of our city.”

FEBRUARY 20: Charles Dickens replies to an invitation from Colonel Thomas Birch Florence and several other Philadelphia journalists and printers:

I thank you for your letter. No man subscribes more heartily to the sentiments you express in reference to the worth of that class of society which you represent, than I do; and I unaffectedly assure you that I am proud of your good opinion.

I have already declined various invitations to a ­[page 335:] public reception in Philadelphia, but I shall be exceedingly glad. to shake hands with you when I arrive there, and shall hope that you will give me an opportunity of doing so.

NOTE: This letter is printed in The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 74-75, from the text published in the Public Ledger of February 23. It appeared in The Spirit of the Times on February 24. The letter produced a consequence which Dickens could not have foreseen and certainly did not desire (see the chronology for March 8). Colonel Florence (1812-1875) was a Philadelphia journalist and politician.

FEBRUARY 22: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle objects to an unfavorable review of Lambert A. Wilmer’s The Quacks of Helicon appearing in the February number of the Lady’s Cabinet Magazine: “It [the review] is not just, nor is it in good taste; and when the critic asks ‘who is L. A. Wilmer?’ he exhibits a want of acquaintance with Philadelphia literature that illy fits him for his position in the management of a magazine.”

FEBRUARY 22: Approximately five hundred supporters of the Tyler administration celebrate Washington’s Birthday at a political dinner held in “the very large, long Saloon of the Assembly Building.” Among the presiding officers are the Vice — Presidents Robert S. English and Thomas S. Smith. The occasion is characterized by “toasts, regular and volunteer, songs, speeches,&c.,” which are “given with the greatest spirit, and received with the most enthusiastic applause.” One of the Tyler supporters toasted by the Dinner Committee is: “Dr. Thomas Dunn English — Young in years; but mature in judgment. His friends love, and his enemies respect him.” One of the meeting’s highlights ­[page 336:] is the singing of a new “Song” by a member of the company: the verses, which were composed “by Dr. Thomas Dunn English,” celebrate the Tyler Presidency. In the last stanza English requests:

Then pledge me again every neighbor,

Remember old Tippecanoe;

We are up in a good cause to labor,

And we’re headed by Tyler, the true.

NOTE: A detailed account of this dinner may be found in “The Tyler Celebration,” Public Ledger, February 23, p. 2, cols. 2-5. On February 24 the Ledger, p. 1, cols. 2-3, published a second, shorter report. Two other persons whom Poe probably knew attended this rally and offered volunteer toasts to President Tyler: Thomas H. Lane and Sandy Harris.

FEBRUARY 23: Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia writes his friend James T. Fields, a Boston publisher, discussing his forthcoming Poets and Poetry of America: “Take comfort. This is the last letter I shall send to you before the publication of the book. It is all stereotyped but fifty pages, and they are to be finished so that the work can be issued by the 20th prox. [March 20] without fail. Consider this official.” Griswold’s health remains poor: “My eyes are very weak, and I don’t write much; and I have not ceased to bleed of the lungs — oh horrible fate! to have so long a death, and feel its slow, constant, and sure approach! I am, however, pretty comfortable, in the main.”

NOTE: MS, Huntington Library. Griswold’s anthology was not published until around April 18, 1842 (see the chronology). Like Poe’s wife Virginia, he suffered from the pulmonary hemorrhaging characteristic of tuberculosis. ­[page 337:]

FEBRUARY 24: In the fifth installment of “‘Boz’ in Philadelphia,” The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, publishes Charles Dickens’ February 20 letter to Colonel Thomas B. Florence and other Philadelphia journalists. George Lippard comments that this invitation to “shake hands” came from “an humble, but much more honorable source” than the other invitations Dickens has received.

FEBRUARY 26: Frederick William Thomas replies to Poe’s letter of February 3, stating that he “delayed writing so long” in the hope that he could make “some suggestions” about the magazine project: “Mr. Robert Tyler would assist you with his pen all lie 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.” Thomas adds: “Poe, if an enterprising printer was [sic ] 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?” Thomas agrees that in “Autography” Poe has lowered his critical standards: “I must confess that I was more than surprised at the eulogistic notices which you took of certain writer; — but I attributed it to a monomania partiality. I am glad to see that you still retain the unbiassed 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 ­[page 338:] handsome one.” Thomas deeply regrets Virginia’s illness, and he hopes she has completely recovered. To some extent he can sympathize with Poe: “Though I have no wife, yet I have sisters, and have experienced the tenderness of woman’s nature.” Thomas discusses several mutual acquaintances whom he has seen on the preceding day. Thomas Willis White, proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger, is now in Washington; he has been “very ill.” Jesse E. Dow is well: “I saw him at the theatre last night.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 105 — 06. Ostrom corrected the date of Thomas’ letter from February 6 to February 26 (see the Letters, II, 591).

FEBRUARY 28: Poe receives $58 from George R. Graham “for salary as Editor, up to this date.”

NOTE: For documentation, see the chronology for March 25, 1841.

March, 1842

MARCH: The inside front wrapper of Graham’s Magazine carries an important notice:

AN APOLOGY is due to such new subscribers as may receive the March number without those for January and February. Our success for 1842 has been so far beyond our most sanguine expectations that we are obliged to reprint both the former numbers. Having issued 35,000 copies as the edition for the year we felt somewhat secure, but our edition was exhausted before February 1st. We are now printing OVER 40,000 COPIES MONTHLY, an edition unexampled and unequalled in the annals of American periodicals; and to those who know anything of Steel Engravings it will be apparent that we cannot go much further, and, to be candid, we have no desire. ­[page 339:]

The January and February numbers will be forwarded to new subscribers, who may miss them, in ten days from the receipt of [the7 March number, and we will thank such as may fail to get them to notify us at once.

NOTE: Unbound copy, Gimbel Collection, Philadelphia Free Library. The Saturday Evening Post, March 5, p. 2, col. 8, reported that the publisher of Graham’s Magazine intended “opening the new volume in July next with fifty thousand copies,” which was to ‘be “the regular and standing edition, being as many as any steel line engraving will yield impressions.”

MARCH: In Graham’s Magazine Poe briefly reviews Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems.

NOTE: Poe published a longer commentary on the Ballads in the April number.

MARCH 5: At approximately 11:00 PM on this Saturday evening, Charles Dickens arrives in Philadelphia from New York. He and his wife go directly to their lodgings at the United States Hotel, on Chestnut Street above Fourth. Their room overlooks Chestnut Street, facing the United States Bank.

NOTE: The time of Dickens’ arrival is given in his March 6 letter to John Forster (see The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 100). In his American Notes for General Circulation (London: Chapman and Hall, 1842), I, 234-35, Dickens recalled that from his hotel room he could see the imposing structure of the United States Bank on the opposite side of the street. The United States Hotel on the north side of Chestnut Street has been demolished; a portrait of it may be found in Phillips’ Poe, I, 716. The building which once housed the ‘United States Bank is still standing ­[page 340:] on the south side of Chestnut, above Fourth (see Theo B. White’s Philadelphia Architecture in the Nineteenth Century, p. 24 and Plate 15).

ANTE MARCH 6: Poe writes Charles Dickens, requesting an interview. With his letter Poe sends Dickens several “books” and “papers.”

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Dickens’ March 6 reply. In all probability, the items Poe sent were his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, his “prospective notice “ of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge in the May 1, 1841, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, and his lengthy review of this novel in the February number of Graham’s Magazine.

MARCH 6: On this Sunday Charles Dickens apparently remains in his hotel, writing letters.

NOTE: In his March 6 letter to John Forster, Dickens commented: “As this is likely to be the only quiet day I shall have for a long time, I devote it to writing to you.” See The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 99

MARCH 6: Charles Dickens writes Poe:

Private

United States Hotel

Sixth March 1842.

My Dear Sir

I shall be very glad to see you, whenever you will do me the favor to call. I think I am more likely to be in the way between half past eleven and twelve, than at any other time.

I have glanced over the books you have been so kind as to send Me; and more particularly at the papers to which you called my attention. I have the greater ­[page 341:] pleasure in expressing my desire to see you, on their account.

Apropos of the “construction” of Caleb Williams. Do you know that Godwin wrote it backwards — the last Volume first — and that when he had produced the hunting-down of Caleb, and the Catastrophe, he waited for months, casting about for a means of accounting for what he had done?

Faithfully Yours always

Charles Dickens

Edgar. A. Poe Esquire.

NOTE: The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 106-07. In the last paragraph Dickens is apparently alluding to the Barnaby Rudge review in the February Graham’s. Poe had compared William Godwin and Dickens in the concluding sentence: “‘Caleb Williams’ is a far less noble work than ‘The Old Curiosity-Shop;’ but Mr., Dickens could no more have constructed the one than Mr. Godwin could have dreamed of the other.” Godwin (1756-1836), a British novelist and philosopher, had strongly influenced Shelley; his popular Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) was — like Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge — a detective novel.. For additional information, see Burton R. Pollin’s essay on “Godwin and Poe,” Discoveries in Poe, pp. 107-27.

CIRCA MARCH 7: Poe has “two long interviews” with Charles Dickens, presumably in the English author’s quarters at the United States Hotel. Poe emphasizes the fact that he is a poet, as well as a critic and a writer of tales. The two men discuss at length the state of American poetry; they agree that the United States has produced few poets worthy of the name. Poe reads Emerson’s poem “To the Humble Bee.” In all probability, the two men discuss the need of an international. copyright to provide both an ­[page 342:] essential stimulus to American literature and a just remuneration to English authors whose works are now being reprinted without compensation. Poe wishes to issue a revised edition of his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, and he asks Dickens if’ he would use his influence to find an English publisher for this collection. Dickens, who has been very favorably impressed by Poe, promises to do all that he can. Apparently, Poe brings an invitation from George R. Graham; and Dickens pledges himself to write for Graham’s Magazine, “if for any periodical in America.”

NOTE: Monday, March 7, is the most plausible date for Poe’s two meetings with Dickens. On March 6 the English writer was resting; he seems to have been fully occupied on March 8, and he left Philadelphia at approximately 6:00 AM on March 9. Poe no doubt called at the United States Hotel “between half-past eleven and twelve” — the time Dickens suggested in his March 6 letter. Although their exact conversation cannot be reconstructed, the subjects they discussed and the conclusions they reached can be surmised to some extent from various documents. In the London Foreign Quarterly Review, 32 (January, 1844), 291.-324, an anonymous British critic published a lengthy essay on “American Poetry,” evaluating the work of many American poets, and asserting “that, with two or three exceptions, there is not a poet of mark in the whole Union.” This writer quoted a number of American poems, including Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “To the Humble Bee,” which he compared to Milton’s “L’Allegro.” Poe agreed with most of the strictures given in this controversial article, and he felt certain that Dickens was its author. In his July 2, 1844, letter to James Russell Lowell (Letters, I, 258), Poe briefly gave:his reasons for this attribution:

“I still adhere to Dickens as either author, or dictator, of the review. . . . . I had two long interviews with Mr D. ­[page 343:] when here. Nearly every thing in the critique, I heard from . . . . him or suggested to him, personally. The poem of Emerson I read to him.” Poe’s comments here represent, apparently, the only record he left of his meeting with Dickens; their provide strong evidence that the two authors discussed American poetry at length. Furthermore, Dickens seems to have remembered Poe primarily as a poet: on November 17, 1842, when he wrote Edward Moxon, the London publisher, to propose an English edition of the Tales, he identified Poe only as “an American poet.” The concluding paragraph of the Foreign Quarterly Review article stressed the need of an international copyright to serve both American and British literature; both Poe and Dickens would have warmly endorsed this opinion. The letter Poe sent to Dickens in New York, ante June 7, 1842, has not been located; but Dickens’ November 27 reply sheds light on its contents and on the two Philadelphia interviews. Poe had evidently written to remind Dickens of a “mission . . . . already entrusted . . . . by word of mouth.” The November 27 letter leaves little doubt that this “mission” was to seek an English publisher for Poe’s stories, and the fact that Dickens accepted this errand leaves little doubt that he was favorably impressed by his American contemporary. On July 16, 1842, the Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 3, carried a “Publisher’s Circular” for Graham’s Magazine, in which George R. Graham stated that he expected “shortly . . . . to announce an engagement with CHARLES DICKENS, that gentleman having, before leaving this country, pledged himself to write for ‘GRAHAM’s MAGAZINE,’ if for any periodical in America.” It is highly possible that Poe, acting on Graham’s behalf, solicited Dickens’ contributions to the magazine during their interviews; neither Graham nor his associate Charles J. Peterson is known to have communicated with the English author. For additional information on Poe’s relations with Dickens, see the chronology for ante June 7, November 11, 17, and 27, 1842.

MARCH 7: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 3, reports that “Mr. Dickens arrived from New York on Saturday night, and took lodgings at the U. S. Hotel.”

NOTE: Dickens’ arrival was also reported on this date by The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, and by other Philadelphia newspapers.

MARCH 7: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, predicts that “BURTON’s BALL,” to be held this evening at William E. Burton’s National Theatre, will be “one of the most magnificent affairs of the season.” An advertisement for the “GRAND BALL,” p. 2, Col. j, promises that “MR. CHARLES DICKENS AND HIS LADY . . . . will attend the Ball THIS EVENING, by invitation[;] and as they depart in a day or two for the South, the present opportunity is the only one afforded to the thousands of his admirers in Philadelphia to greet their favorite.” A ticket costs one dollar and will admit “a gentleman and two ladies.”

NOTE: There is no evidence that Dickens attended this event; apparently, William E. Burton had again been guilty of misleading advertising; an earlier instance is given in the chronology for November 20, 1839.

MARCH 7: Charles Dickens replies to a request for an interview from Isaac Lea: he expects to be “engaged nearly all day tomorrow,” but he can arrange to see Lea at “ten o’clock tomorrow morning, if it will not be inconvenient.”

NOTE: The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 108. Lea, a ­[page 345:] prominent Philadelphia publisher and scientist, had assisted Poe and Thomas Wyatt with The Conchologist’s First Book (1839).

MARCH 7: Charles Dickens visits the Pennsylvania Hospital and other public institutions in Philadelphia.

NOTE: Dickens’ visit to the Pennsylvania Hospital was reported by The Spirit of the Times, March 8, p. 2, col. 4. The Daily Chronicle of March 8 also reported Dickens’ visit to the hospital; its notice is reprinted by Joseph Jackson in his monograph on Dickens in Philadelphia (Philadelphia: William J. Campbell, 1912), pp. 1415. Probably Dickens visited various other institutions on this day; in his American Notes, I, 235-38, he discusses the Fairmount Waterworks, the Franklin Library, the Exchange, the Post Office, and the “splendid unfinished marble structure for the Girard College.”

MARCH 8: In the “City Police” column of The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 5, George Lippard furnishes an article on “The Expected Interview between the Napoleons of Police Reporting in both Hemispheres.” In it he prints a bogus letter from Charles Dickens, soliciting an interview with “Billy Brier,” The Spirit’s brilliant police reporter.

NOTE: Lippard used the pseudonym “Billy Brier” when writing the “City Police” report, a daily feature of The Spirit.

MARCH 8: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 3, reports: “Mr. Dickens — This gentleman will, we understand, be gratified to shake hands with his friends this morning between the hours of half past ten and half past eleven o’clock. He leaves for the south to-morrow.” ­[page 346:]

NOTE: An identical notice appeared in The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, and the Daily Chronicle (reprinted by Jackson, Dickens in Philadelphia, p. 15). The notice was the work of Colonel Thomas B. Florence and several other Philadelphia politicians and journalists, who hoped to win popularity by introducing their fellow citizens to Dickens (see the chronology for February 20 and March 8 at 10:30 AM).

MARCH 8: At approximately 10:00 AM, Charles Dickens has a brief interview with Isaac Lea.

NOTE: This entry is suggested by Dickens’ March 7 letter to Lea.

MARCH 8: At approximately 10:30 AM, Charles Dickens is surprised to find the “offices and halls” of the United States Hotel, as well as the street in front, crowded with hundreds of Philadelphians. Upon asking the reason for this gathering, Dickens is reminded that he has accepted an invitation from Colonel Thomas B. Florence and other journalists to “shake hands” in Philadelphia. At first he “positively” refuses to hold a “levee”; he consents only after “the landlord of the house and others” convince him “that his refusal would doubtless create a riot, and that great injury would be done to the house by the enraged populace.” For several hours Dickens shakes hands and exchanges words “with all.” Colonel Florence, “the dapper little author of the scene,” stands beside Dickens, “giving hundreds and thousands of introductions, and making, no doubt, much social and political capital out of his supposed intimacy with the great English author.”

NOTE: Although Dickens did not mention this “levee” in ­[page 347:] American Notes, he provided a fictional re-creation of the incident in Martin Chuzzlewit. The account quoted here is the reminiscence left by George Washington Putnam (18121896), a young American painter who served as Dickens’ private secretary and traveling companion during his 1842 visit to the United States. Putnam’s “Four Months with Charles Dickens” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, 76 (1870), 476-82, 591-99. The Public Ledger, March 9, p. 2, col. 3, described the scene at length in a report entitled “Grand Reception of Boz — That Committee, and the Shaking of Hands!” In The Spirit of the Times, March 9, p. 2, cols. 1-2, George Lippard identified “Col. Florence” as the “gentleman who introduces them” to Dickens; but his account is partially fiction. On March 9 and 10 the Daily Chronicle published several straightforward reports of the incident; these are reprinted by Jackson, Dickens in Philadelphia, pp. 16-19.

MARCH 8: Charles Dickens spends the afternoon visiting the Eastern Penitentiary, where he is repelled by the system of rigid solitary confinement.

NOTE: Dickens described his visit at length in American Notes, I, 238-68. The date is established by a report in the Daily Chronicle, quoted by Jackson, Dickens in Philadelphia, p. 19.

MARCH 8: In the evening Charles Dickens and his wife are entertained at a dinner party in their honor at the home of Edward L. and Henry C. Carey, 290 Walnut Street.

NOTE: Jackson, Dickens in Philadelphia, pp. 19, 24-25.

MARCH 9: At approximately 6:00 AM Charles Dickens and ­[page 348:] his wife leave Philadelphia by steamboat. In the afternoon they arrive in Baltimore, where they dine at Bradshaw’s Hotel. They leave for Washington on the 4:00 PM train, which arrives in the capital city at approximately 6:30 PM. They take lodgings at Fuller’s City Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

NOTE: Dickens’ movements have been reconstructed from his statements in American Notes, I, 271-78, and from press reports in the Public Ledger, March 10, p. 2, col. 3, and The Spirit of the Times, March 11, p. 2, col. 2.

MARCH 9: In the “City Police” column of The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 15, George Lippard, alias “Billy Brier,” describes incidents of “rowdyism” provoked by the Dickens visit. He reports that one “Baulty Sowers . . . . walked into Burton’s ball, and passed himself off for Boz.”

NOTE: For information on “Burton’s Ball,” see the chronology for March 7.

MARCH 9: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, cols. 1-2, George Lippard reports at length on “‘Boz’ in Philadelphia — The Fuss, the Excitement — A Correct Picture of the Farcical Scene.” He describes a fictitious encounter between Charles Dickens and “Billy Brier,” The Spirit’s police reporter; and he comments on the scene the preceding morning when the English author was besieged by well-wishing Philadelphians: “About half past ten A.M., we approached the United States Hotel. The street was crowded. The pavement was crowded. The Hotel was crowded. In fact, ‘crowd’ is no word to express the mass of coated and breeched humanity that strove to get a sight of ‘Boz.’” Lippard records his own reaction to this incident: “For our part we were highly amused, and ­[page 349:] as we elbowed our way through the crowd which still pressed upward with unabated eagerness, we indulged in a hearty laugh at the absurd idolatry of our countrymen, and the pictures which Mr. Dickens was evidently storing away in his common-place book of American eccentricities, weaknesses, follies, and ridiculous extremes.”

MARCH 9: Thomas Willis White, in Richmond, Virginia, writes Rufus W. Griswold:

‘Tis not every man who ought to have influence that has it. I have known Upshaw [Abel P. Upshur] long and intimately. I ever have been, as I still am, his warm friend and admirer. Still I have not the vanity to believe that I have the least influence with him.

What I think of yourself, and of your claims, I shall endorse in this. If not what you desire, fashion a paper for yourself, send it on to me and I will adopt it as my own. I like you much, and liking you am willing to do all for you that lies in my power . .

NOTE: Passages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. Griswold, pp. 105-06. White, the proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger, seems to have made Griswold’s acquaintance in the year 1840, when he was on the staff of Horace Greeley’s New-Yorker (see the Passages, pp. 38, 47, 96). The two men became frequent correspondents, and Griswold sent many contributions to the Messenger. The present letter provides evidence that Griswold still hoped to restore his health by a sea voyage: he must have written White, asking him to use his influence with Abel P. Upshur, a native Virginian who was then Secretary of the Navy, in an effort to obtain a chaplainship on an American vessel. Griswold never received an appointment.

MARCH 9: Lambert A. Wilmer, in Philadelphia, writes ­[page 350:] John Tomlin, the postmaster of Jackson, Tennessee: “Dear Sir, your letter of the 18th ult. I did not receive till yesterday evening, and I incline to think one of mine has met with similar delay. I wrote to you several weeks ago to thank you most sincerely for your design of vindicating my poem against an editorial attack. I would not wish to entrust my defence to better hands and I hope it may at some time be in my power to reciprocate the kindness you have been pleased to show me.” Wilmer has already mailed a prospectus of his forthcoming magazine to Tomlin; the first number will appear in July. To the agents who distribute his periodical, Wilmer will offer “33 1/3 per cent on all money collected for subscriptions and a copy of the Magazine, as some compensation for their trouble.” A one-year subscription will cost two dollars, payable in advance; no money should be remitted “until the Magazine is actually in operation and the first No. issued.”

NOTE: MS, Butler Library, Columbia University. John Tomlin was to defend Wilmer’s satire, The Quacks of Helicon, as a work written “from the best and the most laudable of motives” and designed “to stir up the almost expired sparks of genius, in the minds of American Bards”; see his article on “L. A. Wilmer, Esq.,” The Guardian, 2 (May, 1842), 78. A file of The Guardian, an obscure journal published at Columbia, Tennessee, from 1841 to 1854, is held by the American Antiquarian Society. As a postmaster, Tomlin was entitled to the frank, and hence in a good position to serve as a periodical agent; however, there is no evidence that Wilmer’s proposed magazine, the Monthly Tourist, was ever issued (see the chronology for January 12 and October 5, 1842). ­[page 351:]

MARCH 10: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, publishes the final installment of “‘Boz’ in Philadelphia,” in which George Lippard presents an imaginative re-creation of the scene at the wharf when Charles Dickens departed the city on the preceding; morning. According to this account, the last Philadelphian to shake hands with the novelist before he boarded the! steamboat was Thomas Hague, the astrologer. Hague has drawn Dickens’ horoscope —”a square piece of paper covered with astronomic hieroglyphics”; the celebrated author has been “Born with Venus rising,” and is therefore partial to ladies. Dickens is much impressed by Hague and intends to give him “an extraordinary present.” Upon his return to Philadelphia, he will present the astrologer with “a copy of that immortal work, the ‘Pickwick Papers.’ “

NOTE: Thomas Hague is listed in McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory for 1842 as a “planet reader.” His astrological and meteorological predictions were frequently discussed in the city’s newspapers. In the April 29, 1840, issue of Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, Poe had exposed Hague as a charlatan (see Brigham, Poe’s Contributions, pp. 76-80).

MARCH 10: In a letter to a friend, Charles Dickens describes his lodgings at the United States Hotel: “We were very comfortably lodged at Philadelphia — and indeed we deserved to be; for the landlord not only charged us half rent for the rooms during the time he had expected us (which was quite right) but charged us also — when I say us, I mean Kate, her maid, and I — for board during the whole of the same period.”

NOTE: The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 110. Dickens and his wife Kate had been expected to arrive in Philadelphia ­[page 352:] on Tuesday, March 1 (see his Letters, III, 97-98).

MARCH 13: Poe replies to a February 14 letter from John N. McJilton, which accompanied a translation from the French by Miss Esther Tiletherald, a Baltimore author. The article has been accepted for publication in Graham’s Magazine, but George R. Graham is unable “to pay more than 2$ per printed page for translations.” If “these terms meet the views of Miss Wetherald,” the editors of the magazine “should be glad to receive from her, each month, an article similar to the one sent, and not exceeding three or four pages in length.” They cannot furnish Miss Wetherald with French periodicals; but “the task of selection” may be left in her hands, as Poe is “fully satisfied” of her taste and of her ability as a translator. In closing, Poe asks McJilton: “Why do I not hear from you occasionally as in ‘the olden time?’”

NOTE: Letters, I, 194. Ostrom states that Esther Wetherald’s translation “Russian Revenge” appeared in the June number of Graham’s Magazine.

MARCH 13: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas, asking his friend whether he had the opportunity to see Charles Dickens during the English author’s visit to Washington. Apparently, Poe discusses his proposed magazine and the question of whether Robert Tyler can aid this project. Poe asks Thomas to send him Henry Clay’s “report on the copyright question.”

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Thomas’ May 21 reply.

MARCH 22: Horace Greeley, the editor of the New-York ­[page 353:] Daily Tribune, writes Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia, discussing the forthcoming Poets and Poetry of America:

Your sheet of contents received, I like it. Enough said. Now finish your work all up in equally good style, and don’t send it out “but half made up.” A special Edict!

We got out our double sheet Daily this morning, and I respectful)[y] submit that it is no small potatoes. (25,000 to 30000 copies.) I had to fight to get in the tall puff of “The Poets” which you will find in the best place in the paper, but I did get it in, while a great; many others were left out, which I had promised, and. meant to get in. If “The Poets” do not sell, the fault shall not be mine.

When will you be on? I want you to bring me a right good copy to keep, and an ordinary one to write notices from, which I don’t mind paying cost for. I want to write a Review for the Southern Literary [Messenger] but don’t know how to begin on the proof-sheets I have with me. However, I must try, if you are not here by Saturday.

NOTE: MS, Library of Congress. According to Joy Bayless, Rufus Wilmot Griswold: Poe’s Literary Executor (Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1943), p. 45, Greeley’s Daily Tribune praised Griswold’s anthology “unstintingly” in its March 22, April 21, and June 2, 1842, issues. Like Griswold, Greeley was a friend and correspondent of Thomas Willis White, the proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger; he was thus in a position to insert a favorable notice in this Richmond monthly. The present letter suggests that Griswold was about to complete his work on the anthology and that he planned to return to New York City. He was definitely in New York by the middle of April, 1842 (see the chronology for April 18 and 19).

MARCH 22: George Lippard, writing under the pseudonym of “Eric Iterbil,” publishes the first installment of “The Sanguine Poetaster” in The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, cols. ­[page 354:] 4-5. Here Lippard satirizes Henry B. Hirst as “Henry Bread Crust,” or the “‘sanguine Poetaster,” who is described as “a young gentleman, slim, slender, and beneath the middle size,” with “starved tangled masses of red hair” falling “over his ears and down each cheek.”

NOTE: The second, and final, installment appeared in The Spirit, March 23, p. 1, col. 4. “The Sanguine Poetaster” was a prologue to “The Bread Crust Papers,” in which Lippard satirized Hirst and his friend Thomas Dunn English at length; for additional information, see the chronology for March 26, 27, 28, 1842 .

MARCH 26: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, reports:

Dastardly Attack on the

Editor of this Paper!!!

Last night about 11 o’clock, as Mr. Du Solle left the Chestnut street Theatre, he was attacked by a cowardly miscreant called Dr. Troubat and two companions, each one of them being half as large again as the subject of-their attack. Dr. Troubat came on him unawares, and struck Mr. Du Solle with an umbrella over the eye. Mr. Du Solle struck at the Doctor with his umbrella in return, but his umbrella was caught by one of the Doctor’s friends while the valiant Doctor flourishing his umbrella retreated.

A few moment; after, opposite the State House, the pusillanimous Doctor met Mr. Du Solle again, and said, “you threatened to pull my nose, did you?” “Yes,” replied Du Solle, “and I would, if I could reach it.” Here a. friend of Du Solle’s stepped up. “I can reach it,” said he. The cowardly Doctor ran. He was pursued, and by Du Solle’s friend, who was not even his size, knocked down repeatedly in the mud, in which he rolled over considerably.

The valiant Doctor then scrambled up out of the mud, and with his two big friends ran as fast as his legs could carry him over towards F. Brown’s drug store.

Altogether the Doctor acted a treacherous, ­[page 355:] cowardly part, and. may thank his inordinately long legs that enabled him to escape the punishment he deserved. The writer of this has witnesses to the truth of every word.

NOTE: This report may be found in the copy of the March 26 issue held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which apparently represents a late, or an extra, edition. It is not present on the microfilm of the March 26 issue held by the Pennsylvania State Library. John S. Du Solle, whose small stature was often alluded to in the Philadelphia newspapers, was a controversial and outspoken figure. According to Lambert A. Wilmer, Our Press Gang, p. 323, the editor of The Spirit of the Times “was assaulted twice at least; once by a physician, at the door of a theatre, and once by a dry-goods store-keeper, in an oyster-cellar.” The Spirit, March 28, p. 2, col. 3, reported that Du Solle’s antagonist, Dr. Raymond Troubat, had been charged with assault and battery.

MARCH 26: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, describes a forthcoming article: “We shall publish on Monday an original lively sketch, entitled ‘THE DUEL’ — giving a graphic picture of a fracas between Henry Bread Crust and Thomas Done Brown, Esqrs., two well known eccentric individuals of our city.”

MARCH 27: Thomas Dunn English writes the editor of The Spirit of the Times:

JOHN S. DU SOLLE, ESQ. — DEAR SIR: — A very foolish report has got abroad, namely: — That in order to gain notoriety, I have written for you the articles lately appearing in the “Times,” in which myself, and my friend Mr. Hirst, so conspicuously figure. I would have no objection to this, as the articles are very amusing and cleverly written, were it not that the reputation of having contributed to your paper is ­[page 356:] anything but agreeable to my feelings. Be kind enough to contradict the report, and add another obligation to the many conferred on

Your grateful friend,

THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH.

NOTE: Du Solle published English’s letter in The Spirit, March 28, p. 2, col. 2. He commented:

Mr. English flatters himself egregiously, when he dreams that either he or his friend could be important enough to merit a “conspicuous” place in our columns!

To oblige Mr. E., we add that he has never contributed to the “Times” — we have invariably refused to publish his communications, even when he has promised to pay for their insertion.

MARCH 28: InThe Spirit of the Times George Lippard (”Eric Iterbil”) publishes the first installment of “THE BREAD CRUST PAPERS, or The Adventures of the Sanguine Poetaster and the Bilious Rhymester; Part Second: The Duel at Camden.” The opening scene of this satire takes place in Mrs. Hubbs’s boarding house, where “Henry Bread Crust” (Henry B. Hirst) has a room. He is visited by “Thomas Done Brown” (Thomas Dunn English), or “the Bilious Rhymester,” whom Lippard describes as “a figure of well proportioned dimensions” having “a face of peculiarly hard and mahogany cut features, relieved or rather distressed by tangled frowsy masses of stiff bilious hair.” In the subsequent installments of “The Bread Crust Papers,” Bread Crust and Done Brown argue over the affections of a Miss Smivers; and they decide to settle their differences by a duel with pistols. On the morning appointed, Bread Crust and his second arrive at the scene of the proposed duel — a wooded grove outside of Camden, New Jersey; they wait for an hour in the rain, but Thomas Done Brown never appears. ­[page 357:]

NOTE: There were five installments: see The Spirit, March 28, p. 1, cols. 45; March 29, p. 1, cols. 45; March 30, p. 1, cols. 45; March 31, p. 1, cols. 45; and April 1, p. 1, cols. 45. The Pennsylvania State Library holds a microfilm of all issues containing “The Sanguine Poetaster” and “The Bread Crust Papers”; the Historical Society of Pennsylvania holds all issues except that for April 1. Poe was almost certainly a reader of Lippard’s “Bread Crust Papers.” In his June 27, 1846, letter to Henry B. Hirst (Letters, II, 322), he asked his correspondent for “a fair account” of his duel with Thomas Dunn English. Poe adopted Lippard’s sobriquet for English in his sketch of “Thomas Dunn Brown” (Works, XV, 266-70) and in “Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English and Others,” which is reprinted from the July 10, 1846, issue of The Spirit of the Times, by Sidney P. Moss, Poe’s Major Crisis: His Libel Suit and New York’s Literary World (Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1970), pp. 49-59. The phrase “done brown” was in common usage in the 1840’s; its original meaning may have been “thoroughly cooked,” but it came to mean “completely swindled” or “thoroughly worsted.”

MARCH 31: Poe receives from George R. Graham “Fifty eight dollars in full for salary, up to this date.”

NOTE: For documentation, see the chronology for March 25, 1841. This may be the last payment that Poe received for his editorial services to Graham’s Magazine. ­[page 358:]

April, 1842

APRIL: In Graham’s Magazine Poe publishes his tale “Life in Death,” the second part of his critique of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems, and the first part of his critique of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales.

NOTE: “Life in Death” was subsequently entitled “The Oval Portrait.” In commenting on Longfellow’s Ballads, Poe gave one of his most significant statements on the nature and aims of poetry. He began by asserting that “Mr. Longfellow’s conception of the aims of poesy is erroneous; and . . . . thus . . . . he does violent wrong to his own high powers . . . . . It will be at once evident that . . . . he regards the inculcation of a moral as essential. . . . . didacticism is the prevalent tone of his song.” For Poe poetry is the servant not of truth, but of beauty. It ministers to that “important condition of man’s immortal nature . . . . the sense of the Beautiful.” Poetry may be defined “in brief” as “the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty. Beyond the limits of Beauty its province does not extend. Its sole arbiter is Taste. With the Intellect or with the Conscience it has only collateral relations.” Charles J. Peterson offered a perceptive appraisal of this review in his April 1 letter to James Russell Lowell.

CIRCA APRIL 1: Poe leaves the editorial staff of Graham’s Magazine.

NOTE: In his July 6, 1842, letter to Daniel Bryan, Poe stated that his “connexion with ‘Graham’s Magazine’ ceased with the May number, which was completed by the 1rst of April.” Although Poe had been dismissed from his positions ­[page 359:] on the Southern Literary Messenger and Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, he left Graham’s of his own volition; he continued to contribute to it, and he remained on good terms with its proprietor. In his May 25, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas, he explained that he resigned because he was disappointed with his salary and disgusted with the magazine’s “contemptible pictures, fashion-plates, music and love tales.” Rufus W. Griswold was not invited to assume Poe’s position until after his departure (see the chronology for April 19, 1842).

APRIL 1: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, apologizing for his failure to correspond: “A dozen times have I resolved, while taking my coffee at breakfast, to write to you ere night, but as often have I been disappointed by business.” In a previous letter Lowell has mentioned that he and Peterson have various philosophical differences. Peterson agrees: “You are right — we are the antipodes of each other in some things. I am no tee-totaller, no abolitionist, no transcendentalist, no peace-man, or any of that sort. I am of a different race. . . . . I let every man think as it pleases him; for be his creed what it may, he is still a man. . . . . And — to tell the truth — the greatest objection I have against the Abolitionists is their wholesale damnation of every man who don’t [sic ] think as they think. It is their proscription &cant I dislike, as much as any thing about them.” Peterson advises Lowell to read Poe’s review of Longfellow’s Ballads: “It is, in my opinion, the most masterly critique, as a whole, I ever saw from an American pen.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Peterson’s distaste for the abolitionist movement was shared by most Philadelphians of the time. ­[page 360:]

APRIL 2: in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, col. 4, Joseph Evans Snodgrass comments on Poe’s abilities as a reviewer:

GRAHAM’s MAGAZINE. — This work has furnished an admirable issue for April. There is a decided improvement, to our taste — but we may differ from most of magazine readers. We allude to the insertion of reviews. We speak of this class of writings, as distinct from mere critical notices. We think they add greatly to the value of the work, — being useful, at the same time, in no slight degree. We are, furthermore, very sure the editor, Mr. Poe, is gratified by the change he has been permitted to make in this respect. He is fond of reviewing, and, though, at times, provokingly hypercritical, is an excellent reviewer.

An evidence of the truth of the charge preferred, will be found in his expression of opinion, upon the second edition of Soran’s poems. Any man who had read the volume, would conclude that the editor lies-under a mistake. . . . .

NOTE: Charles Soran, a Baltimore poet, was frequently praised by Snodgrass in the Visiter. The first edition of Soran’s The Patapsco and Other Poems was issued in Baltimore in 1841; the second appeared in 1842. Poe is not known to have reviewed either edition, but his April 1 and July 12, 1841, letters to Snodgrass establish that the editor of the Visiter sent a favorable review of The Patapsco to Graham’s Magazine. In the April 2, 1842, issue of the Visiter, Snodgrass is almost certainly alluding to Poe’s “expression of opinion” in his July 12, 1841, letter, in which he returned this review with the comment: “I have not read the book — but I would have been willing to take his [Soran’s] merits upon your word.”

APRIL 5: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 4, George Lippard alludes satirically to the New England Transcendentalists in “An Eastern Apologue, By A. Brownson ­[page 361:] Smallcott.” On April 9 The Spirit, p. 1, cols. 45, publishes a second installment entitled “The Wickedest Thing Alive (An Apologue from the Arabian MSS), By A. Brownson Smallcott.”

NOTE: Lippard arrived at this pseudonym by combining the names of two leading Transcendentalists, Orestes A. Brownson and A. Bronson Alcott. He may have had some personal knowledge of Brownson, who delivered a series of lectures in Philadelphia during January, 1842; see The Spirit, January 13, p. 1, col. 5, and January 31, p. 1, col. 4, p. 2, col. 4. These two “apologues” are Lippard’s last known contributions to The Spirit; he seems to have been forced to leave its staff because of ill health. In his “Life and Works of George Lippard,”

Diss. Ohio State 1969, pp. 53-54, Emilio De Grazia suggested that Lippard may have already contracted tuberculosis, the disease which was to cause his death in 1854, at the age of thirty-one.

APRIL 14: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle comments: “ON DIT. — That our friend L. A. Wilmer is about to deliver a lecture. Is it so? He is a genius, and a clever fellow, but a little too modest. That quality, by the way, is a true sign of merit.”

APRIL 18: The Philadelphia publishers Carey &Hart write Rufus W. Griswold in New York: “We have at last published the ‘Poets &Poetry of America’ &a handsome Book it is . . . . .” The anthology has already been placed on sale. Carey &Hart are sending “a Bundle to Your address Cont[ainin]g 10 Copies for Editors in New York, which we presume you would prefer delivering yourself.” They understand that Griswold also wishes to present copies ­[page 362:] of the anthology to Halleck, Bryant, Dana, and Longfellow; they offer to send these for him.

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The letter is addressed to “Mr Rufus W. Griswold / New York”; it is dated and postmarked April 18. The Poets and Poetry of America proved both popular and controversial. A sampling of the diverse critical reactions is given by Bayless, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, pp. 45-47. Many other commentaries on the anthology, excerpted from newspapers and letters, are entered in the chronology subsequent to this date.

APRIL 19: George R. Graham, the publisher of Graham’s Magazine, writes Rufus W. Griswold in New York:

R. W. Griswold Esq

Dear Sir

Have you fully determined on assuming the Chaplaincy and to abandon the editorial chair? Or could you find it in your heart to locate in Philadelphia? Let me hear from you, as I have a proposal to make.

I like your book much. We received it from Carey &Hart on yesterday, and although it will give offense to a few, it must; be popular, and will please every man of taste.

Yours

G. R. Graham

April 19/42

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The letter is addressed to Griswold in New York and postmarked April 20. In December, 1873, George R. Graham related a fictitious account of Poe’s departure from Graham’s Magazine to William F. Gill, who recorded it in his Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 5th ed., rev. (New York: W. J. Widdleton, 1880), pp. 110-11: ­[page 363:]

Mr. Poe was, from illness or other causes, absent for a short time from his post on the magazine. Mr. Graham had, meanwhile, made a temporary arrangement with Dr. Griswold to act as Poe’s substitute until his return. Poe came back unexpectedly, and, seeing Griswold in his chair, turned on his heel without a word, and left the office, nor could he be persuaded to enter it again, although, as stated, he sent frequent contributions thereafter to the pages of the magazine.

This anecdote has been repeated by many Poe biographers. Graham’s April 19, 1842, letter indicates that he did not invite Griswold to assume “the editorial chair” until several weeks after Poe’s departure circa April 1. For additional information on Griswold’s editorship of Graham’s Magazine, see the chronology for ante May 3, May 3, and post May 3, 1842.

APRIL 20: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports: “THE ‘CORPORAL’s GUARD.’ — The friends of President Tyler in this city are beginning to make a demonstration with a view to nominate and support him for another executive term. The continual stirring up of the political cauldron may throw up a little fish in the end.”

NOTE: Most of John Tyler’s supporters in Philadelphia had formerly professed allegiance to the Whig party; they were called the “Corporal’s Guard” after the President’s Whig allies in Congress. According to Chitwood, John Tyler, p. 218, these senators and congressmen were so few in number “that they were not improperly designated ‘the Corporal’s Guard.’” Within the coming week the President took steps to reward his followers in Philadelphia by appointing them

to offices in the city’s Custom House (see the chronology for April 27, 1842). ‘Two highly visible backers of President Tyler were Poe’s associates Thomas Dunn English ­[page 364:] and Henry B. Hirst; for additional information, see the chronology for May 23, 30, June 6, July 4, and October 24, 1842.

APRIL 21: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, reports: “‘THE POETS OF AMERICA.’ — The Rev. Rufus W. Griswold has gotten out this beautiful work we understand.”

APRIL 23: George R. Graham’s Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, cols. 7-8, reviews Griswold’s anthology at length:

THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA, WITH AN HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION — By Rufus W. Griswold — 1 vol. -Carey &Hart. — This is the most valuable publication of the season. No collection of American Poetry has ever been made, at all comparable to this, whether we regard the completeness of the work, or the taste displayed in the selections. Few men in the country were so well qualified for the task of editor as the Rev. Mr. Griswold, as all those will testify who are acquainted with his intimate acquaintance with our authors, his extensive collection of American Poetry, and his fine scholarly taste. To use one of his own quotations, the work will live, “for a spirit is in it.”

The work comprises selections from eighty-eight of our poets, whose productions are prefaced by neat biographies. . . . . In an Appendix are contained selections from “Various Authors,” who, without pretending to the rank of poets, have yet written occasional verses. We see more than one writer in this department, whose friends will think him entitled to a more extended notice. . . . . We fear more for the success of the work on this account than on any other. But in spite of any cavils which may spring from disappointed vanity, the book will succeed, for it has extraordinary merit.

Our limits, this week, will not allow us to give an extended criticism of this volume, for it would take an elaborate article to do justice to the compilation in detail. . . . . ­[page 365:] We dismiss this national work with the assurance that every American, who loves his country’s muse, will possess himself of an early copy.

APRIL 25: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, discussing Rufus W. Griswold’s The Poets and Poetry of America:

I was as much surprised as you at what Griswold says of you. I was not surprised at the space he allotted to you, for his book was nearly finished, &he was cramped for room. The original plan of the work embraced two volumes, nor was the project altered until half of the present book was printed. I’m afraid Griswold is led too much by public &popular opinion — he will talk very differently of you, a year or two hence, when you are better known, — for, as yet, comparatively speaking, not one man out of ten is acquainted with your work. I deserve no merit for what I have done for you. I saw that you deserved reputation, &would have it eventually — all I have done, was done with the hope of hastening that consummation by presenting you fairly to the public. And I have already received proofs that my object has partially succeeded. But Griswold fears to lead the public taste. Notice his remarks on several writers &you will see what I mean. He beats about the bush &gives other folks opinions too much. He don’t [sic ] come out frankly. Yet a clever man is he — I wish you knew him. I intend to notice this, &one or two other things, in speaking of his book.

Peterson assures Lowell that he thinks nothing about their “differences on Abolition, temperance,&c.” He adds: “By the bye, Graham said the other day he would give you $20 a poem, if you would write only for him. I did not think you would be willing to confine yourself, so I have not hitherto mentioned [it]. You may think differently. At any rate you have a right to know his offer.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. This letter provides reasonably conclusive evidence that Peterson wrote ­[page 366:] the unsigned notice of The Poets and Poetry of America in the June number of Graham’s Magazine. This review, which criticized Griswold for neglecting Lowell, has been previously attributed to Poe; for additional information, see the chronology for June, 1842. Peterson’s own magazine, The Lady’s World of Fashion, did not notice Griswold’s anthology; the other journal he was associated with — the weekly Saturday Evening Post — had already reviewed the book in its April 23 issue.

APRIL 27: President John Tyler addresses a letter to his Secretary of the Treasury, Walter Forward, requesting that thirty-one changes be made in the subordinate offices of the Philadelphia Custom House “for reasons satisfactory to myself.” One of the proposed changes is that Robert S. English should be appointed “a measurer” in place of James Clarke. Walter Forward immediately writes Jonathan Roberts, the Collector of Customs in Philadelphia, enclosing Tyler’s letter and requesting that the changes be made to take effect on May l.

NOTE: In the 1830’s and 1840’s American politicians practiced the “spoils system,” whereby the victorious party in an election rewarded its followers by appointing them to government offices. At the beginning of his administration, John Tyler opposed the “spoils system”; but after his break with the Whig party, he sought to establish his own political base by appointing officials who would be sympathetic to his Presidency. Through the use of patronage Tyler hoped to organize a third party which would support his policies and which would stand behind his candidacy in the Presidential election of 1844 (see Chitwood’s John Tyler, pp. 367-85). His decision to fill the Custom Houses of Philadelphia and other cities with his supporters was to ­[page 367:] have a direct effect on Poe, who was led to believe that he would receive one of the anticipated vacancies (see the chronology for May 21, 25, 1842). Jonathan Roberts (1771-1854), a personal friend of President Tyler and a former senator from Pennsylvania, had been appointed the Collector of the Port of Philadelphia on April 13, 1841; he refused to make the removals and appointments that the President requested, and on September 10, 1842, the President replaced him with one of his supporters, Thomas S. Smith. To the September 14, 1842, issue of the Whig United States Gazette, p. 2, cols. 3-5, Jonathan Roberts contributed a lengthy article in which he discussed the circumstances of his removal from office and published the April 27, 1842, letters he had received from President Tyler and Walter Forward, the Secretary of the Treasury. Robert S. English was the father of Poe’s enemy Thomas Dunn English; for evidence of his activity in Tyler’s behalf, see the chronology for June 15, 1840, and February 22, 1842. Various reactions to the President’s April 27 letter to Forward may be found in the chronology for May 4, 5, 8, 11, 1842.

APRIL 28: Frederick William Thomas delivers a lecture on the question of the international copyright to the Union Literary and Debating Society of Washington.

NOTE: His lecture was favorably noticed by Jesse E. Dow in The Index, May 3, p. 3, col. 1.

APRIL 30: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 1, col. 2, John S. Du Solle reports on “HUMBUGS. — Our friend Wilmer lectures on this interesting subject this evening, at the corner of Fourth and Vine streets. He will handle the animal with gloves on — that’s certain.” The Spirit, p. 1, ­[page 368:] col. 4, carries an advertisement promising that Lambert A. Wilmer’s lecture will be commenced “at 72 o’clock, at the Lecture Room, N.W. corner of Fourth and Vine streets . . . . . Tickets 12 ½ cents each, for sale at the door.”

May, 1842

MAY: On April 30 the Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 7, comments on Graham’s Magazine for this month: “It is doubtful, if engravings of equal beauty ever adorned an American work, — and as the publisher expended over two thousand dollars on the engravings of the May number alone, some idea may be formed of their excellency, and of the patronage of a work that can amply afford it.”

MAY: Graham’s Magazine publishes Poe’s “The Mask of the Red Death.”

NOTE: Joseph Evans Snodgrass approved of this story, because he reprinted it in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, April 30, p. l, cols. 5-6, p. 2, col. l. He found that Poe’s tale “exhibits his love of the mysterious and his artistical ability — tho’ not so much as his stories generally.”

MAY: In Graham’s Magazine Poe publishes the second installment of his review of Twice-Told Tales. He discusses Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories individually, and he gives this author his highest praise: “The style [of these tales] is purity itself. Force abounds. High imagination gleams from every page. Mr. Hawthorne is a man of the truest genius.” Yet Poe cannot forbear from suggesting ­[page 369:] that Hawthorne’s “Howe’s Masquerade” reveals “something which resembles plagiarism” from his own “William Wilson.” This review contains Poe’s analysis of the art of tale writing: “A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents — he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step.”

NOTE: In “Hawthorne’s ‘Plagiary’; Poe’s Duplicity,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 25 (1970-1971), 281-98, Robert Regan concluded that Hawthorne’s “Howe’s Masquerade” was written “at least a year” before Poe’s “William Wilson.” It is possible that Poe’s accusation of plagiarism was intended as a jeu d’esprit. Two of his close associates — Henry B. Hirst and Thomas Dunn English-composed humorous “accusations” of plagiarism (see the chronology for October 26, 1840, and February 3, 10, 1844); and his friend John S. Du Solle may well have been jesting when he discovered evidence of plagiarism in “The Gold-Bug” (see the chronology for July l, 1843).

MAY: In Arcturus (Vol. 3, pp. 401-06), Cornelius Mathews discusses “Criticism in America.” He briefly notices the critic who had dissected his Wakondah in the February number of Graham’s Magazine:

Mr. Poe, editor of Graham’s Magazine, has lately written several elaborate criticisms in that periodical, which are richly deserving of attention. He is somewhat over literal and minute, looking oftener to the letter than the spirit; but in the full ­[page 370:] examination of a book, we know of no one who will take the same pains. His recent review of Barnaby Rudge is a masterpiece of ingenuity. [p. 406]

NOTE: The article is unsigned; but Poe attributed it to Mathews in the Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, p. 1, Col. 3.

ANTE MAY 3: Rufus W. Griswold is informed by Charles J. Peterson that the salary for the “editorial chair” offered by George R. Graham in his April 19 letter will be one thousand dollars a year. Griswold writes Graham, accepting his proposal and apparently asking him to confirm the salary mentioned by Peterson.

NOTE: This entry is established by Graham’s May 3 letter to Griswold.

MAY 3: George R. Graham writes Rufus W. Griswold: “Your letter I should have acknowledged ere this — but have overlooked the closing sentence. I am glad that you agree to our proposal, and we shall be ready to give you the ‘right hand of fellowship,’ as soon as ‘orders are taken.’ Mr. P[eterson] is right. The salary to be $1,000 per annum. We shall hope to see the light of your countenance soon.”

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. Graham’s letter is addressed to Griswold in New York City; it is undated, but postmarked May 3. The position Griswold was to assume on Graham’s Magazine was that of book review editor, which had been left vacant by Poe’s resignation around April 1, 1842.

POST MAY 3: Rufus W. Griswold comes to Philadelphia and joins the staff of Graham’s Magazine.

NOTE: Griswold probably arrived in the city sometime during May; but because Graham’s Magazine went to press early, his ­[page 371:] editorship did not commence in fact until the August number. In his July 10, 1842, letter to James T. Fields, he commented: “I had little to do with the July No. as it was nearly all printed before I came hither . . . . .” Griswold seems to have played a larger role in determining the contents and the policies of Graham’s Magazine than Poe had, probably because Charles J. Peterson, Graham’s principal assistant, was devoting an increasing amount of time to his own periodical, The Lady’s World of Fashion (see the chronology for March 3, September 9, 1843).

MAY 4: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 2, reports:

THE REMOVALS. — The rumors of intended removals from office in the Custom House seem to be well founded; for there is considerable panic among the incumbents, and some activity among those who wish to succeed. The report runs, that the Collector has received directions to dismiss about thirty or thirty-five obnoxious individuals, and to appoint others in their places. The Collector, instead of complying, has gone on to Washington, probably to expostulate with the President and save his friends. The reason assigned for their removal is, that they are busy in their exertions against the President, and grossly abuse him personally.

MAY 5: Jonathan Roberts, the Collector of Customs in Philadelphia, has an interview with President Tyler in Washington. Roberts states that he cannot in conscience make the appointments and removals in the Philadelphia Custom House that the President requested in his April 27 letter to Walter Forward.

NOTE: Roberts described his interview in the United States Gazette, September 14, 1842, p. 2, cols. 45.

MAY 5: In The Index, p. 3, col. l, Jesse E. Dow ­[page 372:] comments on The Poets and Poetry of America:

GRISWOLD’s BOOK OF THE POETS.

We have hastily run our eyes over this long expected[,] loud — trumpeted and well printed work; but we must say, with all sincerity, that, like all other selections of poetry of the present day, it is compiled more to skew off a few doubtful genius’s [sic] amid sterling writers than present a just and impartial selection of American poetry to the world.

Who is Mr. Griswold? Has he ever written a line of poetry? If not, how dare he profane the muse’s temple by his unholy presence, and run away with the rag bag of rhyme; while diamonds of rare value are left behind —”Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” — and Mr. Griswold, who by accident, has stumbled upon many good things, and more vile ones, has wronged the American muse by ignorance and want of taste. The poets of America look for popularity at the firesides of an intelligent people; and care not for a narrow resting place in the port folio of an ass, or the cook book of Lea and Blanchard’s [Carey &Hart’s] kitchen. Mr. Griswold has omitted Pop Emmons, William Marsh, and McDonald Clark. He surely must have been advised in this matter by that great absorber of popular praise, Park Benjamin, Esq. Boots, you are wanted.

NOTE: Dow’s scathing critique of Rufus W. Griswold may have been partially motivated by their political differences: Dow was a Loco-Foco, or radical Democrat, while Griswold was a Whig. The editor of The Index published several additional attacks on Griswold (see the chronology for June 2, 18, 27, 1842).

MAY 7: Park Benjamin’s New World (Vol. 4, pp. 304-05) publishes a judicious review of a popular anthology:

THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA, with an Historical Introduction; by Rufus W. Griswold. Philadelphia: Carey &Hart.

This is a large and beautiful octavo of 500 pages, elegantly printed in compact double columns. We regard it as one of the finest specimens of typographical art ever issued from the American press. The task ­[page 373:] undertaken by the editor was certainly, in some respects, not a very agre[e]able one; it was to be expected that in deciding who were, and who were not entitled to a place in his volume, that offence would be given to many who were entirely omitted, and to others who are admitted, but to an inferior rank than their self-love would lead them to think they were entitled to. The list of poets, formally recognised as such, and whom the editor thought worthy of a biographical notice, comprises no less than eighty-seven.

The New World’s reviewer names the poets discussed in the body of the anthology, and he then offers a general appraisal of the work:

From the writings of some of these authors — Pike, Whittier, Hoffman., and others, whose works never having been published collectively, or being comparatively unknown, the editor has presented a large number of specimens, while from Halleck and a few others, whose writings are familiar to every one, his selections are much more limited. This we think a judicious arrangement, although we observe it has in some cases called forth the charge of favoritism on the editor. We confess, in looking through the volume, we see many poems which we think might better have been omitted; nor do we in all cases agree with Mr. Griswold in the critical estimate of the works of authors; but, on the whole, he has given us by far the best collection of American poetry ever published, and performed a valuable service -to our literature, which will insure for him the lasting regard and favor of the public. We doubt not but that centuries hence his volume will be referred to as the most authentic and valuable early American Anthology. . . . .

MAY 8: “Umbra,” a Philadelphia correspondent of the Washington Independent, sends a dispatch to-this Whig newspaper:

Great excitement prevails here [in Philadelphia] among all parties., relative to the arbitrary orders given by the President to the Collector of this port to remove thirty-five [thirty-one] of the Custom House officers, for no other reason than that they are ­[page 374:] friends of Henry Clay. No objection is assigned against these officers for delinquency, incapacity, or any malversation in office. Their CRIME is that of being the friends and admirers of the great Statesman of the West, whose name will live in glory, when that of John Tyler is lost in infamy. The weak mind of the President has been induced to issue this tyrannical mandate by the misrepresentations of Tyson, who designs to supercede the present incumbents by some of his own creatures. The imbecility of John Tyler is in no degree more clearly manifested than by the influence which a man of such mean intellect as Tyson has obtained over him — a man without a shadow of influence at home, and one who has gained the contempt of all parties, by his low intrigues and notorious double-dealing with his friends. . . . .

Not only have thirty-five officers been ordered to be removed, but a list of their successors has been sent to the Collector. . . . . The persons designated to succeed them are the very outcasts of the Whig party — men who have been unable to obtain office, tho’ ardent partizans, from the want of trustworthy qualities. . . . . It is an insult upon the people of Philadelphia to appoint such men to office. Will a Whig Congress permit such an act of official tyranny to be perpetrated? . . . .

NOTE: This letter from “Umbra” was published in The Independent, May 13, p. 3, col. 6. The incumbents in the Philadelphia Custom House were Whigs who remained loyal to the party’s foremost spokesman, Henry Clay, a senator from Kentucky. Most of the men who hoped to succeed them had supported the Whig ticket during the election of 1840, but now professed allegiance to President Tyler. Joseph Washington Tyson, a lawyer, had been active in the

Harrison compaign [[campaign]]; he was now the principal leader of the “Corporal’s Guard,” as the President’s supporters in Philadelphia were called (see the chronology for April 20, 1842). On October 11, 1841, President Tyler had appointed Tyson the Commissary General of the United States Army, but on April 22, 1842, the Whig-dominated Congress refused to confirm this appointment. In his May 8 letter “Umbra” expressed the ­[page 375:] hope that the Whigs in Congress would similarly prevent President Tyler from ordering removals in the Custom House.

MAY 11: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 2, discusses the anticipated removals in the Philadelphia Custom House:

GREAT WASTE OF GRIEF. — Mr. Roberts, the collector, it seems, could not prevail upon President Tyler to believe that all the men under him are perfect patterns of public officers, diligently attending to their own business, and not troubling their heads about politics. Eloquent expostulations having failed, the Collector and his friends have resorted to tears; and three pints of grief flowed yesterday through the morning journals, at the sad result of the mission. . . . . Why did not the sympathy of some of those tender hearted persons manifest itself a year ago, when one hundred poor men went, at one fell swoop, for no cause except a difference of opinion. Oh! the selfishness and hypocrisy of scurvy politicians.

NOTE: Jonathan Roberts„ the Collector of Customs, had gone to Washington in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade President Tyler not to order removals; in his interview with the President, Roberts stated that “about one hundred” men were then employed in the Philadelphia Custom House (see the chronology for May 4, 5, 1842). Many of the city’s newspapers commented on the President’s design of placing his followers in the Custom House: Poe would have been aware of the situation at least several weeks before Frederick William Thomas wrote him on May 21, informing him that he had a good chance of being appointed to one of the anticipated vacancies.

MAY 12: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, John S. Du Solle reports: “LECTURES IN GERMANTOWN — Our friend, L. A. Wilmer, Esq., on Friday evening next. His abilities are well known to the public.” ­[page 376:]

NOTE: Germantown is located on the outskirts of Philadelphia.

MAY 13: Daniel Bryan, a Virginia poet, writes Poe:

Alexandria D. C.

May 13. 1842

My dear Sir

The favourable opinions which you have expressed of the productions of my humble Muse, and the kind feeling which you. have invariably manifested towards me, will, I trust, be a satisfactory apology for this communication. —

Aware of your connexion with Graham’s Magazine, and flattering myself with a belief that you will not be wanting either in the disposition, or the power,

to render acceptable to its proprietor the effusions herewith transmitted, I confide them to your disposal with a view to their publication in that work at such time, and in such manner, as you may deem advisable.-

At the hazard of incurring from you the imputation of indelicacy, if not of vanity, I venture here to offer the suggestion that the “Crowning of the May Queen” — would, in my estimation, form a most excellent subject for an embellishment for your deservedly popular Journal. — It appears to me that to the fancy of an Artist of genius and fine taste, — such as the exquisite engravings for Graham’s Magazine prove can readily be enlisted in its service, — the whole coronation scene of the May Queen constitutes a rich field for successful selection and felicitous execution. — The Queen — the royal robes — the crown-the Goddesses, the Maids of Honour — the Floras — the garlands of Flowers — the spectators,&c., present, I think, a profusion of materials for the exercise of the finest powers of an Artist. . . . . [Several paragraphs are omitted; in these Bryan describes how the “Crowning of the May Queen” might be illustrated.

Whatever may be your decision on the subject, and however chimerical you may regard my notions in connexion with it, I feel assured that my sensibilities are safe in your hands, and that you will estimate my motives and feelings in the matter in a generous and a friendly spirit. — Although I have not ­[page 377:] the happiness to be personally acquainted with you,

yet my intimate acquaintance with your lamented Brother, the occasional correspondence which has taken place between us, and the favourable sentiments which you have expressed towards my poetical pretensions, embolden me to regard you in a very different light from that of a stranger. — Hence I write to you with freedom and frankness, and I desire you to deal with me in the same spirit. — If you believe my verses to be unsuitable to your Journal, I beg you to return them to me. Indeed I do not wish you to extend to them the slightest countenance beyond your conviction of their merits. At the same time I have strong special reasons* [Bryan’s insertion, written in the margin, follows:] Which, when leisure permits, I may hereafter take occasion to communicate to you. — [Letter resumes:] for desiring that whatever merits my productions possess, may be properly brought into view, and receive the justice to wh[ich] they are entitled. — More than this I do not expect, or wish for. — I have received applications for contributions “either in prose or verse” from several editors recently, — but I prefer putting under your auspices any thing which I have to offer for publication adapted to the character of yr Mag. to giving it any other destination. — As, however, you may have others to consult previous to the acceptance of an article, and as my May-Day Rhymes may not, in your own judgement, seem sufficiently imbued with the inspirations of Poesy to justify their appearance in your beautiful Journal, I repeat my request that if you feel the slightest hesitation about their publication therein, you will enclose them back to me. — I tender you my most respectful salutations &am very cordially your friend

Danl Bryan

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. Since 1826 Daniel Bryan had been the postmaster of Alexandria, now part of Virginia, but then included in the District of Columbia. In the December, 1841, installment of “Autography,” Poe praised him for “some very excellent poetry . . . . of ‘the good old Goldsmith school.’” For information on Poe’s “lamented Brother” Henry, who died in Baltimore on August 1, 1831, see Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, Poe’s Brother: The ­[page 378:] Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe (New York: George H. Doran, 1926), and see Mabbott’s sketch in the Poems, pp. 515-20. Although Bryan mentions his prior “occasional correspondence” with Poe, no earlier letters are known to survive. The present letter is postmarked May 14., and it is addressed to “Edgar A. Poe, Esq. of Philadelphia,” but Poe did not receive it until sometime after July 6. The letter was opened by someone on the staff of Graham’s Magazine — possibly Charles J. Peterson — and it then passed into the possession of Rufus W. Griswold, who did not bother to forward it; for additional information, see the other letters in the Poe-Bryan correspondence, which are entered in the chronology for June 27, July 6, 11, 26, July 27August 3, and August 4, 1842.

MAY 14: The Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 2, announces Rufus W. Griswold’s association with George R. Graham &Co.:

More Editorial Strength.

Mr. R. W. Griswold, a gentleman of acknowledged taste and ability, has become associated with us, as one of the Editors of the Saturday Evening Post and Graham’s Magazine. Mr. Griswold’s literary knowledge, is perhaps, not surpassed by that of any man in the country, and we therefore feel that we have made an acquisition to our editorial strength, which will soon be made apparent. We are determined that every thing that taste, talent, capital and enterprise can do, shall be put forth, in the publications issued from this office.

NOTE: Poe’s departure from Graham’s Magazine was not officially announced until the July number. In his June 4, 1842, letter to Joseph Evans Snodgrass, Poe expressed his irritation at this delay. ­[page 379:]

MAY 18: The Public Ledger, p. 4, col. 1, reports an “EDITORIAL CHANGE. — E. A. Poe, Esq, has retired from the editorship of Graham’s Magazine, and has been succeeded by Rev. R. W. Griswold.”

MAY 21: In The Index, p. 3, col. 1, Jesse E. Dow reports that “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has resigned the charge of Graham’s Magazine. We regret this exceedingly. We trust the Penn Magazine will now be started by Mr. Poe.”

MAY 21: Frederick William Thomas replies to a March 13 letter from Poe. Robert Tyler, the President’s son, can give only limited assistance to the Penn Magazine: “with regard to any pecuniary aid . . . . he has nothing but his salary of $1500 and his situation requires more than its expenditure. In a literary point of view he would gladly aid you, but his time is so taken up with political and other matters that his contributions would be few and far between.” But Robert. Tyler may be able to assist the magazine project indirectly by providing Poe with a government position which would give him both financial security and leisure for literary pursuits. Thomas has not replied sooner to Poe’s March 13 letter because he “would not write upon mere conjectures that something available was about to occur”; he is now convinced that there is a definite prospect of government employment for his friend:

Last night I was speaking of you [to Robert Tyler , and took occasion to suggest that a situation in the Custom House, Philadelphia, might be acceptable to you, as Lamb (Charles) had held a somewhat similar appointment, etc., and as it would leave you leisure to pursue your literary pursuits. Robert replied that he felt confident that such a situation could be obtained for you in the course of two or three months at farthest, as certain vacancies would then occur.

What say you to such a place? Official life is ­[page 380:] not laborious, and a situation that would suit you and place you beyond the necessity of employing your pen, he says, he can obtain for you there. Let me hear from you as soon as convenient upon this subject. . . . .

Thomas apparently responds to a request in Poe’s March 13 letter: “I could not obtain for you, and I have tried repeatedly, [Henry] Clay’s report on the copyright question. I may be yet successful. If I had obtained it I might have written sooner — having that to write about.” He answers his friend’s question: “Yes, I saw Dickens, but only at the dinner which a few of us gave him here — I liked him very much though.” Thomas finds that Poe “exhibited great sagacity” in analyzing Barnaby Rudge for the February number of Graham’s Magazine. Someone has told Thomas that Poe has “parted company” with George R. Graham: “Is it so?” In closing Thomas asks: “How is the health of your lady? I have often, often thought of her and sympathised with you.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 108-10. Poe and Thomas had discussed Robert Tyler’s ability to aid the Penn Magazine in letters entered in the chronology for February 3 and 26, 1842. The vacancies in the Philadelphia Custom House were not to occur for “two or three months” because President Tyler was waiting until the adjournment of the Whig-dominated Congress before replacing Jonathan Roberts, the Collector of Customs (see the chronology for June 1, 1842).

MAY 23: Thomas Dunn English and Henry B. Hirst attend a meeting of Philadelphia supporters of the Tyler administration.

NOTE: This event was briefly reported by John S. Du Solle in The Spirit of the Times, May 24, p. 2, col. 4, and May 25, P. l, col. 6. In his May 24 account Du Solle used the sobriquets George Lippard had invented for English and Hirst: ­[page 381:]

TYLER MEETING. — The friends of “Capting Tyler” held a meeting in a “garret -room” in Carter’s Alley, last night. We merely took a peep into the room, at the door. A very benevolent, gentlemanly looking person, was speaking. His subject was a “neat edition of a reprint of the Constitution.” Jim Gregory, T. done English, and. Henry Bread Crust, Esq., were sitting around the table, the latter apparently acting as Secretary. Mr. Gregory was very polite.

His May 25 report suggests that English may have had some disagreement with Charles W. Alexander, publisher of the Daily Chronicle:

“THE CORPORAL’s GUARD!” — At the meeting of the friends of Capting Tyler — Capt’n John — held up in the “garret room” in Carter’s alley on Monday night, T. done English, M.D., made a furious speech against the Daily Chronicle — nearly annihilated Colonel Alexander, and called the Colonel’s Reporter a reptile! Whew!

ANTE MAY 25: Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Mrs. Clemm move from “the old place”; they leave a record of their new address at the office of Graham’s Magazine.

NOTE: The earliest evidence of Poe’s change of residence is provided by his May 25 letter to Frederick William Thomas. The family’s “old place” was probably the “small house” Poe mentioned in his September 4, 1838, letter to Nathan C. Brooks. There is some evidence that this dwelling was located on Sixteenth Street near Locust; see Anne E. C. Clarke’s account, quoted by John Sartain, Reminiscences, p. 217. The Poe family probably lived here from late 1838 to early 1842 (post September 4, 1838 — ante May 25, 1842). Poe’s May 25 letter implies that Thomas was familiar with “the old place”; the author of Clinton Bradshaw probably visited his friend’s home when he came to Philadelphia two years before (see the chronology for post May 7, 1840). ­[page 382:] The change of residence may have been connected in some way with Poe’s departure from Graham’s Magazine. The fact that in his May 25 letter Poe does not give Thomas his new address but tells him to inquire at the office of Graham’s may indicate that the family were then living in what they considered to be temporary quarters. The earliest evidence of their residence in the house at Fairmount is given in Poe’s September 12, 1842, letter to Thomas. During the summer of 1842 the family could have been living in a boarding house or some other transient dwelling. There is at least one piece of evidence which tends to support this conclusion: in his July 11, 1842, letter, Daniel Bryan alluded to Poe’s “boarding house”; it is conceivable that the Alexandria postmaster had knowledge of his correspondent’s place of residence.

MAY 25: Poe replies to Frederick William Thomas’ May 21 letter. He does not reproach his friend for his failure to answer promptly: “I knew you had your reasons for it . . . . . You have shown yourself, from the first hour of our acquaintance, that rara avis in terris — a true friend.” Poe expresses his readiness to accept the position in the Philadelphia Custom House offered by Robert Tyler: “What you say respecting a situation in the Custom House here, gives me new life. Nothing could more precisely meet my views. Could I obtain such an appointment, I would be enabled thoroughly to carry out all my ambitious projects. It would relieve me of all care as regards a mere subsistence, and thus allow me time for thought, which, in fact, is action. . . . . If the salary will barely enable me to live I shall be content. Will you say as much for me to Mr Tyler, and express to him my sincere gratitude for the interest he takes in my welfare?” Poe answers Thomas’ ­[page 383:] question:

The report of my having parted company with Graham, is correct; although, in the forthcoming June number, there is no announcement to that effect; nor had the papers any authority for the statement made. My duties ceased with the May number. I shall continue to contribute occasionally. Griswold succeeds me. My reason for resigning was disgust with the namby-pamby character of the Magazine — a character which it was impossible to eradicate — I allude to the contemptible pictures, fashion-plates, music and love tales. The salary, moreover, did not pay me for the labor which I was forced to bestow. With Graham who is really a very gentlemanly, although an exceedingly weak man, I had no misunderstanding.

Poe’s wife Virginia is “much better,” and he has “strong hope of her ultimate recovery.” The family has moved from “the old place”; if Thomas visits Philadelphia unexpectedly, he will find their address at the office of Graham’s Magazine. Poe alludes to the proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger: “You saw White — little Tom. I am anxious to know what he said about things in general. He is a character if ever one ‘was.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 197-99. For information on the anticipated vacancies in the Custom House, see the chronology for April 27, May 4, 5, 8, 11, 21, and early June, June 1, 1842. Information on the salary George R. Graham paid Roe may be found in the chronology for March 25, 1841. Within a few days Virginia Poe was to suffer a serious relapse; see Poe’s letter to James Herron entered in the chronology for early June, 1842. In his February 26, 1842, letter to Poe, Thomas mentioned that he had seen Thomas Willis White, who was then in Washington.

MAY 30: Thomas Dunn English attends another meeting of “The Corporal’s Guard.” ­[page 384:]

NOTE: His presence was humorously reported by his political enemy John S. Du Solle in The Spirit of the Times, June l, p. 2,col. 5. Du Solle again alluded to the close association between English and Henry B. Hirst, using George Lippard’s sobriquets for the pair:

The Corporal’s Guard.” — The Guard had another meeting on Monday evening in the “Garret Room.” T. done English, spouter general, appeared in the room with a terrible black eye! Where did he get it from? Can the brother of Sir Mortimer, Henry Bread Crust, Esq., tell?

P.S. — Since the above was in type, we have learnt all about “that black eye.” He of the black eye a few minutes before he entered the “garret room” was “done up,” or in other words got one of the handsomest and completest dressings —”the black eye” included — that it ever fell to the lot of English to get. Dresser-’a clever, talented and spirited young member of the bar in George street. Scene — Sixth and Chestnut. Time — half-past 8 P.M. Cause —”d-mn lie” from T. done brown. Where was Bread Crust?

Du Solle’s report is a probable source for “Mr. Poe’s Reply to Mr. English,” which alludes to various “chastisements” administered to English; see the “Reply,” reprinted by Moss, Poe’s Mayor Crisis, pp. 53-54.

MAY 31: Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, discussing the change in the editorial staff of Graham’s Magazine: “I suppose you know Poe has left us. He’s a splendid fellow, but ‘unstable as water.’ In his place we have taken Griswold, who is an indefatigable fellow &knows more about the literary men of this country than they do themselves. He is elated that his book has gone into a second edition. A more suitable person we could not have obtained.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. The pleasant relationship between Peterson and Rufus W. Griswold does not [page 385:] appear to have lasted (see the chronology for September 7, 1842) .

MAY 31: The Washington Independent, p. 3, col. 6, publishes a letter from “Flash,” a correspondent in Philadelphia who discusses the literary situation in this city: “The book marked; is unusually lively for the season, several important works having lately appeared: among others, Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America — a tolerable compilation of American poetry, — which, however, is being rather heavily dosed with over-puffing!”

NOTE: Flash’s description of Rufus W. Griswold’s popular anthology as “a tolerable compilation” elicited letters of protest from two other correspondents (see the chronology for June 10, 17, 1842).


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - PIP, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (D. R. Thomas) (Chapter 06)