Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 06 [Part 01],” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 315-355


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[page 315:]

CHAPTER SIX

Graham’s Magazine and the Custom House

Frederick William Thomas [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 314]
 
Frederick William Thomas

1841-1842

In January 1841 Poe renews his efforts to enlist contributors and subscribers for the Penn Magazine, now scheduled to appear on 1 March; but in early February a financial crisis involving the Philadelphia banks forces him to postpone its publication indefinitely. He then accepts the position of book review editor on Graham’s Magazine, newly established by George R. Graham. The April Graham’s contains Poe’s tale “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”; the May number, “A Descent into the Maelström.” In the last half of 1841 he contributes two serials to Graham’s which excite much attention, “Secret Writing” and “Autography.” Around 20 January 1842 Virginia Poe suffers a pulmonary hemorrhage, marking the onset of tuberculosis. Poe, who has largely abstained from alcohol for several years, resumes drinking under the stress occasioned by her recurrent illness. Around 1 April he resigns from Graham’s, disgusted with its emphasis on fashion plates and sentimental literature. In May his friend Frederick William Thomas, a novelist holding a minor office in the Treasury Department, intercedes on his behalf with Robert Tyler, eldest son of President John Tyler. Thomas writes Poe from Washington on 21 May, giving him hope of a political sinecure in the Philadelphia Custom House. In late June Poe visits New York in an unsuccessful attempt to find a publisher for a new collection of his tales, tentatively entitled Phantasy-Pieces. After returning to Philadelphia he prepares a judicious critique of Rufus W. Griswold’s anthology The Poets and Poetry of America, and he once again plans to issue the Penn Magazine. On 17 September Thomas visits Poe at his residence in the Fairmount district, assuring him that Robert Tyler wishes to see him given a government appointment. In October and November the new Collector of Customs, Thomas S. Smith, appoints several dozen supporters of the Tyler administration to offices in the Custom House. As Poe is not included, he solicits four interviews with Smith, who at first evades his questions and finally, on 19 November, informs him that all the vacancies have been filled. At the end of 1842 Poe’s novelette “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” is serialized in William W. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion, and his short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is accepted for the first number of James Russell Lowell’s Pioneer.

 


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~~ 1841 ~~

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[page 316:]

[1841] EARLY JANUARY? PHILADELPHIA. Poe makes “a most advantageous arrangement” with J. R. Pollock, a periodical agent and publisher at 205 Chestnut Street, who agrees to handle “the business department” of the Penn Magazine. He has printed a new supply of Penn prospectuses dated 1 January, which promise the initial number on 1 March (Poe to Thomas Wyatt, 1 April; Heartman and Canny, pp. 62-65).

[1841] CA. 1 JANUARY. Poe writes Nathan C. Brooks in Baltimore, inquiring about a new magazine to be established in that city (Poe to Snodgrass, 17 January).

[1841] 2 JANUARY. William Burke Wood, manager of the Walnut Street Theatre, sends Poe a brief note. He apologizes for his failure to see or write Poe “before the end of the past week”; he begs his “further patience for a few days” (PHi).

[1841] 6 JANUARY. Poe writes the banker Nicholas Biddle at his residence in the city, 215 Spruce Street, discussing the Penn Magazine: “My cousins in Augusta, [Georgia,] who had led me to hope that they would aid me materially, have been unable to do so, and could not even obtain me a few subscribers in that place. On the other hand I have received a great many names from villages, in the South and West, of whose existence even I was not aware. . . . The kind manner in which you received me when I called upon you at Andalusia — upon so very equivocal an errand — has emboldened me to ask of you a still greater favor than the one you then granted. . . . The favor I would ask is that you would lend me the influence of your name in a brief article for my opening number.” Poe explains this request:

I need not suggest to you, as a man of the world, the great benefit I would derive from your obliging me in this matter. Without friends in Philadelphia, except among literary men as uninfluential as myself, I would at once be put in a good position — I mean in respect to that all important point, caste — by having it known that you were not indifferent to my success. You will not accuse me of intending the meanness of flattery to serve as a selfish purpose, when I say that your name has an almost illimitable influence in the city, and a vast influence in all quarters of the country, and that, would you allow me its use as I propose, it would be of more actual value to me in my enterprise than perhaps a thousand dollars in money — this too more especially as the favor thus granted would be one you are not in the habit of granting (L, 2:693-95). [page 317:]

[1841] 9 JANUARY. The Saturday Evening Post reprints Poe’s “To Ianthe in Heaven,” giving it the title “To One Beloved” (Mabbott [1969], 1:214-15).

[1841] 17 JANUARY. Poe replies to a letter from Joseph Evans Snodgrass in Baltimore: “You wish to know my prospects with the ‘Penn’. They are glorious — notwithstanding the world of difficulties under which I labored and labor. My illness (from which I have now entirely recovered) has been, for various reasons, a benefit to my scheme, rather than a disadvantage; and, upon the whole, if I do not eminently succeed in this enterprize, the fault will be altogether mine own. Still, I am using every exertion to ensure success, and, among other maneuvres, I have cut down the bridges behind me.” Poe thanks Snodgrass for offering to contribute; he has an abundance of poetry, but will welcome “any prose article.” He especially wants an article on the need for an international copyright law or on “the Laws of Libel in regard to Literary Criticism.” The Baltimore lawyer David Hoffman has promised to aid the Penn; perhaps Snodgrass can persuade him to prepare an article on one of these topics. Any contribution for the opening number should be on hand soon: “I am about to put the first sheet to press immediately; and the others will follow in rapid succession.” Tomorrow Poe will see George R. Graham and inquire about the essay Snodgrass submitted in the premium contest conducted by the Gentleman’s Magazine last year; he suspects that “to prevent detection, Burton may have destroyed it.” Poe requests details about “a new Magazine to be established in Baltimore by a Virginian & a practical printer”; he inquired of Nathan C. Brooks “about a fortnight ago,” but has received no reply to his letter (L, 1:151-53).

[1841] 22 JANUARY. Poe writes the playwright and lawyer Robert T. Conrad, using stationery bearing the Penn prospectus: “As a man of the world you will at once understand that what I most need for my work in its commencement (since I am comparatively a stranger in Philadelphia) is caste. I need the countenance of those who stand well not less in the social than in the literary world. I, certainly, have no claim whatever upon your attention, and have scarcely the honor of your personal acquaintance — but if I could obtain the influence of your name in an article (however brief) for my opening number, I feel that it would assist me beyond measure.” Poe hopes to publish articles on “the International Copy-Right Law, and The Laws of Libel in their relation to Literary Criticism”; he doubts that anyone is more qualified than Conrad to discuss these subjects. He is “rash, however, in making any suggestions”; he will be “only too much delighted” to receive “an article upon any question whatever.” The first number of the Penn “will be put to press on the first of February” (L, 1:153-55). [page 318:]

[1841] 25 JANUARY. Judge Joseph Hopkinson replies to Poe’s letter soliciting contributions for the Penn:

It has always been my desire that we should concentrate in Philadelphia as much literary talent as possible, and be distinguished by works of science and genius issuing from ourselves — I have therefore never been reluctant to afford the little aid in my power to such enterprizes — My time and attention, however, are much occupied by my official duties, so that I avoid making engagements which may interfare with them, or may themselves be neglected — I wish your Magazine may succeed, and with the talent you can of yourself bring into it, your prospect is encouraging — I will keep it in my view, & shall be happy to contribute to its support when I have any communications which may be acceptable to your readers — Allow me to remind you that the ruin of our periodicals has been distant subscribers, who never send their money, and the collection of which costs more than is received (MB-G).

[1841] 4 FEBRUARY. A financial crisis disrupts the operations of the Philadelphia banks. In the morning the United States Bank suspends specie payments; by night most of the city’s other banks have “suspended paying notes, of a higher denomination than five dollars.” The Southern banks, “beginning at Baltimore,” follow the example of the Philadelphia banks and suspend payments (Saturday Evening Post, 13 February).

[On 20 February the Post reported: “The suspension of the Banks still continues, and, as a consequence, the financial world is considerably embarrassed. Money is difficult to obtain, even at a high premium.”]

[1841] AFTER 4 FEBRUARY. Because of the bank suspensions Poe is forced to postpone the Penn. He accepts an offer from George R. Graham to conduct the book review department of Graham’s Magazine, at a salary of $800 a year (Poe’s 1 April letters to Snodgrass and Thomas Wyatt; Sartain, p. 200).

[1841] 20 FEBRUARY. In the Saturday Evening Post Graham comments:

Mr. Poe, we are sorry to say, has been forced, at the last moment, to abandon finally, or at least to postpone indefinitely, his project of the Penn Magazine. This is the more to be regretted as he had the finest prospects of success in the establishment of the journal — such prospects as are seldom enjoyed — an excellent list of subscribers, and, what is equally to the purpose, the universal good-will of the public press. The south and west were especially warm in his cause, and, under ordinary circumstances, he could not have failed of receiving the most gratifying support. In the present disorder of all monetary affairs, however, it was but common prudence to give up the enterprise — in fact it would have been madness to attempt it. Periodicals are among the principal sufferers by these pecuniary convulsions, and to commence one just now would be exceedingly hazardous. [page 319:] It is, beyond doubt, fortunate for Mr. P. that his late illness induced the postponement of his first number; which, it will be remembered, was to have appeared in January.

It is with pleasure we add, that we have secured the services of Mr. Poe as one of the editors of Graham’s Magazine. As a stern, just and impartial critic Mr. Poe holds a pen second to none in the country, and we have the confident assurance, that with such editorial strength as the Magazine now possesses, the literary department of the work will be of the very highest character.

[1841] 22 FEBRUARY. Edward L. Carey writes Charles West Thomson that the Gift for 1842 “is now in the hands of the printer” (Heartman and Canny, p. 68).

[This edition of Carey & Hart’s annual contained Poe’s tale “Eleonora.”]

[1841] EARLY MARCH. Poe’s tale “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is set in type for the April Graham’s by Barrett & Thrasher, Printers, No. 33 Carter’s Alley. The manuscript, afterwards thrown “into the waste-basket,” is rescued by a young apprentice printer, W. J. Johnston, who preserves it (Thomas [1978], pp. 822-24).

[1841] CA. 1 MARCH. WASHINGTON. Frederick William Thomas arrives in the capital for the inauguration of the victorious Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. Thomas renews his acquaintance with Jesse E. Dow, whom he met in Philadelphia last May (Thomas to Poe, 7 March).

[1841] 4 MARCH. Harrison is inaugurated as President. John Tyler of Virginia, his running mate, becomes Vice-President.

[1841] 7 MARCH. Thomas writes Poe: “I have been in Washington this week past. Dow, whom I see frequently, told me that you had given up the idea of the Penn and was [sic] engaged with Graham. I regret that you have been prevented from carrying out that glorious enterprise at present, but you’ll do it yet.” Thomas wishes “to write for some periodical a novel in numbers, say two or three chapters per month, as Marryat and Boz write their novels.” He asks Poe whether this serial would be appropriate for Graham’s Magazine: “Write me . . . if Mr. Graham likes the proposition[,] what he would give — all about it. Of course a continuous story is worth more per page than a mere sketch, as it would create a desire in the reader to see the conclusion of it and consequently make him the purchaser of the subsequent numbers of the Magazine.” Thomas hopes, “in a month or so,” to take Poe “by the hand”; he sends his respects to Poe’s “mother and lady” (W, 17:81-82). [page 320:]

[1841] 10 MARCH. CINCINNATI. William Davis Gallagher, editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, writes Poe:

Will you be good enough to favor me so much as to enter the name of the Daily paper with which I am connected upon the exchange list of the “Penn Magazine?” The independence of critical remark which characterized the “Southern Literary Messenger’ while under your control, and the individuality of that department of the work, make me anxious to get your new magazine. If this proposition suit you, please direct “Daily Gazette.” If it do not, send me the work any how, and I will pay you in money, or, what is more plenty[ful] with me, scribbler-coin.

A copy of Gallagher’s anthology Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West, just issued “by an enterprising Western publisher,” accompanies this letter: “I trust you may find in it something to your liking” (MB-G).

[1841] 12 MARCH. JACKSON, TENNESSEE. John Tomlin writes Poe, expressing disappointment that the Penn Magazine has been “indefinitely postponed.” He offers his assistance in any future project Poe may undertake (W, 17:82-83; L, 2:584).

[1841] 22 MARCH. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. James Russell Lowell writes Charles J. Peterson, who performs many editorial duties on Graham’s Magazine. Lowell is annoyed that his “Callirhöe” has been published in the March number without his consent. This poem was submitted as an entry in the premium contest conducted by the Gentleman’s Magazine last year; William E. Burton should have returned it (Peterson’s 29 March reply).

[1841] 25 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo. R. Graham Sixty dollars” (PP-G).

[1841] BEFORE 26 MARCH. Graham’s for April carries an announcement on its inside front cover:

It is with pleasure the Proprietor announces, that he has made arrangements with EDGAR A. POE, Esq., commencing with the present number, by which he secures his valuable pen, as one of the editors of the Magazine. Mr. POE is too well known in the literary world to require a word of commendation. As a critic he is surpassed by no man in the country; and as in this Magazine his critical abilities shall have free scope, the rod will be very generously, and at the same time, justly administered.

With this additional editorial strength, the Magazine may be expected to take a high position in literary merit, among the periodicals of the day. In the beauty of its embellishments, it is now on all hands confessed, to be superior to any Magazine published in this country. It is the wish of the editors, however, to make the literary department the great attraction of the Magazine, and to enlist the pride of the American people and writers, in the support of a work creditable to National Literature. [page 321:]

This number contains “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” as well as Poe’s reviews of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Night and Morning and R. M. Walsh’s translation Sketches of Conspicuous Living Characters of France. Observing that one of Walsh’s sketches deals with a cipher, Poe rejects the notion that its solution required “extraordinary penetration.” In this case both the cipher and its key were in French and addressed to Frenchmen: “The difficulty of decyphering may well be supposed much greater had the key been in a foreign tongue; yet any one who will take the trouble may address us a note in the same manner as here proposed, and the key-phrase may be either in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, or Greek (or in any of the dialects of these languages), and we pledge ourselves for the solution of the riddle. The experiment may afford our readers some amusement — let them try it.”

[1841] 26 MARCH. The Daily Chronicle notices the April Graham’s. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is one of “its most interesting articles.”

[1841] 27 MARCH. The Pennsylvanian notices Graham’s: “We observe that Mr E. A. Poe is now associated with Mr Graham in the editorial management of the work, and besides having contributed a tale of powerful interest, the traces of his able pen will attract much attention in the critical department, which contains several reviews of late publications written with remarkable vigor and discrimination.”

[1841] 27 MARCH. NEW YORK. Horace Greeley’s New-Yorker reviews Graham’s: “the article entitled ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ is of deep but repulsive interest; . . . the Literary Notices are much more able and carefully prepared than usual.”

[1841] 29 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Peterson replies to Lowell’s 22 March letter:

When Mr Graham purchased Burton’s Magazine he bought also a bundle of articles, many of which Mr B[urton] said he had already paid for. In this bundle I found yours. I was struck with it, and inserted it in March. Since, as you say, it was offered for a prize, Mr B had no right to dispose of it, but should have returned it to you. Believe me such a piece of (I must say it) fraud I could not knowingly countenance. You will do me the justice to exonerate me from any imputation of having participated in it. Of Mr B, or his magazine I knew little more than yourself (MH-H).

[1841] 31 MARCH. GERMANTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA. The Germantown Telegraph notices Graham’s: “Among the number, there is a powerful article from Mr. POE, one of our very best writers, who is permanently connected with this magazine. The Reviews which are from the pen of Mr. P., are of an able, spirited and independent order — such as all reviews ought to be.” [page 322:]

[1841] 1 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to an 8 March letter from Snodgrass. He is grateful for permission to give Graham the essay Snodgrass submitted in the Burton’s premium contest. It will appear in the June Graham’s: “In order to understand this apparent delay, you must be informed that we go to press at a singularly early period. The May number is now within two days of being ready for delivery to the mails.” Poe thanks Snodgrass for “the kind interest” he has shown in regard to the malicious rumors spread by Burton: “My situation is embarrassing. It is impossible, as you say, to notice a buffoon and a felon, as one gentleman would notice another.” Burton’s assertions that Poe is a drunkard are totally false:

It is, however, due to candor that I inform you upon what foundation he has erected his slanders. At no period of my life was I ever what men call intemperate. I never was in the habit of intoxication. I never drunk drams, &c. But, for a brief period, while I resided in Richmond, and edited the Messenger, I certainly did give way, at long intervals, to the temptation held out on all sides by the spirit of Southern conviviality. My sensitive temperament could not stand an excitement which was an everyday matter to my companions. In short, it sometimes happened that I was completely intoxicated. For some days after each excess I was invariably confined to bed. But it is now quite four years since I have abandoned every kind of alcoholic drink — four years, with the exception of a single deviation, which occurred shortly after my leaving Burton, and when I was induced to resort to the occasional use of cider, with the hope of relieving a nervous attack.

In a postscript Poe states that the Penn Magazine “would have appeared under glorious auspices, and with capital at command, in March, as advertised, but for the unexpected bank suspensions. . . . The Penn project will unquestionably be resumed hereafter” (L, 1:155-58).

[1841] 1 APRIL. Poe replies to his friend Thomas Wyatt, now in New Brunswick, New Jersey, whose letter he received “yesterday morning.” Complying with Wyatt’s request, Poe called on the lithographer Peter S. Duval later in the day: “He says that it will be impossible to execute the alterations mentioned in Prof. Millington’s letter, without ruining the drawing — and that the cost of them, even if executed, would exceed that of a new drawing. . . . In truth the drawing by Mr Pinkerton is shockingly botched and ‘touched up’ — so that it would be useless to attempt doing anything farther with it. Mr D. refuses to put his name to it — so you may imagine how bad it is — for Mr D. has put his name to some of the most execrable things.” Were Poe in Wyatt’s place, he would refuse to pay E. J. Pinkerton “and get the design executed by some competent artist.” He invites Wyatt to visit his family when passing through Philadelphia: “We are still at the old place.” Rosalie Poe, his sister, has recently spent a week with them. Her foster brother John Mackenzie accompanied her up from Richmond and left her in Philadelphia “while he went to Boston.” The Penn Magazine has been deferred, but not abandoned: [page 323:]

I had made a most advantageous arrangement with Mr Pollock to enter into partnership, and attend to the business department — when just as I was putting the first sheet to press — there came like a clap of thunder, the bank suspensions. No periodical could be commenced under such circumstances — and I therefore made up my mind to accept for the present year an engagement with Mr Graham, of Graham’s Magazine (3d & Chesnut). He gives me an excellent salary, far more than I had with Burton — and I have a good deal less to do — so that I can afford to lay on my oars for a time, as regards the “Penn Magazine” project (TxU-HRCL; Moldenhauer [1971], pp. 468-77).

[1841] 1 APRIL. Poe replies to Thomas’ 7 March letter. Graham would not serialize Thomas’ proposed novel in his magazine. Poe solicits his friend’s opinion of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (Thomas’ 11 May reply).

[1841] 3 APRIL. The Saturday Evening Post quotes favorable notices of the April Graham’s by the New York Weekly Dispatch, which stated that Poe’s association with the magazine was “an acquisition to its interest Mr. G. may well be proud of,” and by the Providence, Rhode Island, Patriot, which described Poe’s “Rue Morgue” as “a well written and highly interesting article . . . one of that author’s best efforts.”

[1841] 3 APRIL. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo. R. Graham Fifty four dollars” (PP-G).

[1841] 4 APRIL. WASHINGTON. President Harrison dies, having been in office only one month. The Vice-President John Tyler succeeds him on 6 April.

[1841] 15 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes John Tomlin in Jackson, Tennessee (Tomlin’s 30 April reply).

[1841] BEFORE 21 APRIL. Graham’s for May contains Poe’s tale “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” as well as his reviews of Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop and Master Humphrey’s Clock, Charles Sprague’s Writings, and John N. McJilton’s poem The Sovereignty of Mind.

The inside front cover carries an announcement: “Writers who send articles to this Magazine for publication, must state distinctly at the time of sending them, whether they expect pay. We cannot allow compensation unless by special contract before publication. This rule will hereafter be rigidly enforced.”

[1841] 21 APRIL. STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT. A reader signing himself “S. D. L.” writes “the Editor of Graham’s Magazine,” quoting Poe’s offer to solve ciphers made in the April number. He submits two ciphers, the first having a key-phrase in English, and the second, one in Latin: “As I did [page 324:] not see (by the number for May,) that any of your correspondents had availed himself of your offer, I take the liberty to send the enclosed, on which, if you should think it worth your while, you can exercise your ingenuity” (W, 14:124-25).

[1841] AFTER 21? APRIL. NEW YORK. Mordecai M. Noah’s Evening Star notices Graham’s: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq. has furnished a narrative entitled ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom,’ which appears to be equal in interest with the powerful article from his pen in the last number, ‘The Murder[s] in the Rue Morgue’ ” (quoted in the Saturday Evening Post, 1 May).

[1841] 24 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo. R. Graham Forty dollars” (PP-G).

[1841] 28 APRIL. The Daily Chronicle notices Graham’s: “The ‘Descent into the Maelstroom’ [sic] by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., is unworthy of the pen of one whose talents allow him a wider and more ample range.”

[1841] 30 APRIL. JACKSON, TENNESSEE. Tomlin acknowledges a 15 April letter from Poe, “received on yesterday.” He hopes that his tale “The Devil’s Visit to St Dunstan,” submitted for the Penn Magazine, can be published in Graham’s. Having been appointed the postmaster of Jackson on 24 February by President Van Buren, Tomlin wonders how he will fare under the new administration: “If John Tyler Esq, President of the United States, removes me from office for being a loco-foco, I will certainly be opposed to him — and the measure” (MB-G).

[1841] 1 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Charles West Thomson writes Poe about Graham’s:

I observe a notice on the cover of the May Mag. in reference to payment of writers, which perhaps may be intended for my information — I have merely to remark in regard to the matter, that I do not expect payment for anything heretofore published or now in your possession, but I should like to know from Mr. Graham whether he is willing to pay for future contributions and at what rate. It is time for me to think of making my efforts a little more productive than they have heretofore been. — I have preferred addressing you on this occasion, as we have before spoken together on the subject (MB-G).

[1841] 1 MAY. In the Saturday Evening Post Poe reviews Dickens’ novel Barnaby Rudge, now being published serially. He correctly predicts that the subsequent installments will reveal “that Barnaby, the idiot, is the murderer’s own son.” Poe praises Dickens’ “creation of the hero Barnaby Rudge, and the commingling with his character, as accessory, that of the human-looking raven.” [page 325:]

[1841] 3 MAY. Poe writes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “Mr Geo: R. Graham, proprietor of ‘Graham’s Magazine’, a monthly journal published in this city, and edited by myself, desires me to beg of you the honor of your contribution to its pages. . . . I should be overjoyed if we could get from you an article each month — either poetry or prose — length and subject à discretion. In respect to terms we would gladly offer you carte blanche — and the periods of payment should also be made to suit yourself.” Poe is forwarding the April and May numbers in order that Longfellow “may form some judgment of the character of the work.” If he decides to contribute, “it would be an important object with us to have something, as soon as convenient, for the July number, which commences a new volume, and with part of which we are already going to press.” Poe expresses his “fervent admiration” for Longellow’s writings (L, 1:158-59).

[1841] BEFORE 8 MAY. Poe meets Rufus W. Griswold, a young editor and journalist.

[In his 1850 “Memoir,” p. v, Griswold recalled: “My acquaintance with Mr. POE commenced in the spring of 1841. He called at my hotel, and not finding me at home, left two letters of introduction. The next morning I visited him, and we had a long conversation about literature and literary men, pertinent to the subject of a book, ‘The Poets and Poetry of America,’ which I was then preparing for the press.” No doubt Poe hoped to have his poems featured in the new anthology; Griswold, in turn, would have realized that a favorable review by Poe in Graham’s would enhance the book’s chances of success.]

[1841] BEFORE 8 MAY. Poe writes Griswold: “Will you be kind enough to lend me the No. of the Family Magazine of which we spoke — if you have received it?” He also hopes to borrow John L. Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan or some other “new book of interest” (L, 1:159-60).

[1841] 8 MAY. BOSTON. Griswold begins an editorial engagement on the Boston Notion, a weekly newspaper of folio size published by George Roberts (Griswold [1898], pp. 65-66).

[1841] 11 MAY. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe’s 1 April letter. He encloses an article for Graham’s, requesting payment as soon as possible: “A gentleman of address, if not of character . . . did me the honor to borrow feloniously my coat with an hundred and ten dollars in it — This has shortened my finances.” Thomas thinks that he may move to New Orleans, where he would practice law. “Speaking of law reminds me of your tale [page 326:] ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and your wish to know how I like it in ‘my capacity of a lawyer’ — I must speak frankly, and without flattery[.] I think it the most ingenious thing of the kind on record — It is managed with a tact, ability and subtlety that is wonderful — I do not know what in the devil to make of your intellectuals.” Yesterday Thomas read Poe’s critique of Barnaby Rudge in the Saturday Evening Post, but he will not comment on it because he has not yet read Dickens’ novel. “Poe don’t forget that Henry Clay said that at the extra session of Congress he meant to bring up the copy right law — Are you not going to give an editorial on the subject — Do prick the Senator’s memory and I will have the article copied here — I think when Congress meets that your humble servant will lecture on the subject.” Thomas reprimands Poe for not keeping his promise to review Howard Pinckney: “By the bye you are a shabby fellow — Do you think by love! that I thought you . . . to get over ‘Howard Pinckney’ with out ‘abusing it’ — No sir, and be it known to you that I consider this no good reason in the eye of friendship why you should not notice it — Better be damned &c — Dont you know that to be before the public is the thing — Poe I dont like that — and that’s flat.” Their mutual friend Jesse E. Dow, a Democratic appointee under the Van Buren administration, has been removed from his clerkship in the Post Office Department: “I am more than sorry for it — It is though what he ought to have expected . . . . Dow has a wife and three children, with soon [to] have a fourth, and yet he bears up like a man . . . . He boards next door to me. I see him daily. We walk often together and I do not think we have ever taken a walk without speaking of you” (MB-G).

[1841] 19 MAY. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. Longfellow replies to Poe’s 3 May letter:

I am much obliged to you for your kind expressions of regard, and to Mr. Graham for his very generous offer, of which I should gladly avail myself under other circumstances. But I am so much occupied at present that I could not do it with any satisfaction either to you or to myself. I must therefore respectfully decline his proposition.

You are mistaken in supposing that you are not “favorably known to me.” On the contrary, all that I have read from your pen has inspired me with a high idea of your power; and I think you are destined to stand among the first romance-writers of the country, if such be your aim (Longfellow [1966], 2:302).

[1841] 20 MAY. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe again, complaining that he has not received payment for his article: “I have been disappointed in receiving a remittance from St. Louis from an editor for whom I have been writing and I feel constrained to request, my dear friend, that you would jog Mr. Graham’s memory. Don’t fail me — for my pocket is at a low ebb.” Thomas [page 327:] fears that “with the failure of the banks and the death of General Harrison, . . . it will be some time before publishing resumes its former busy existence. Dam[n] Locofocoism there was some little money to be made by books before that — but nowadays!” Dow is now “getting along well as an agent for post-masters — or rather for those who wish to make contracts with the post office department. He seems cheerful and has quit drinking even hard cider. The Locofocos here seem to think or wish to think that President Tyler will go with them — or at least be half and half.” Thomas suggests that Poe come to Washington and apply for a clerkship:

How would you like to be an office holder here at $1500 per year payable monthly by Uncle Sam who, however slack he may be to his general creditors, pays his officials with due punctuality. How would you like it? You stroll to your office a little after nine in the morning leisurely, and you stroll from it a little after two in the afternoon homeward to dinner, and return no more that day. If during office hours you have anything to do it is an agreeable relaxation from the monstrous laziness of the day. You have on your desk everything in the writing line in apple-pie order, and if you choose to lucubrate in a literary way, why you can lucubrate (W, 17:84-85).

[1841] BEFORE 22 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s for June contains Poe’s sketch “The Island of the Fay,” written to accompany the frontispiece, a steel engraving by John Sartain with the same title. Poe reviews Macaulay’s Essays, T. S. Arthur’s tale Insubordination, Pliny Earle’s Marathon, and Other Poems, William Davis Gallagher’s Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West, and Joseph Holt Ingraham’s novel The Quadroone.

[1841] 22 MAY. BOSTON. Griswold notices Graham’s in the Boston Notion, condemning Poe’s favorable review of Earle’s poetry: “we never saw anything more ineffably senseless and bombastic, than these verses so lauded by the editor of Graham’s Magazine — the same editor who pronounced Charles Sprague’s Shakspeare Ode ‘a specimen of commonplace,” and Curiosity a ‘tolerable occasional poem’!” (Cohen, pp. 98-99).

[1841] 22 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Chronicle publishes Poe’s poem “The Sleeper” (Mabbott [1969], 1:183).

[1841] 28 MAY. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe: “Yours of the 26 enclosing a draft upon F[ranck] Taylor, periodical agent of this place, drawn in my favour by Mr Graham for twenty dollars, I received yesterday.” He went “forthwith to Mr Taylor’s book store and presented the draft,” but Taylor declined to honor it because “he had not that amount . . . due Mr Graham.” Thomas again reminds Poe that he urgently needs money. He appreciates his friend’s good opinion of his article: “I don’t know why it is, [page 328:] but frankly I like your approval of my little efforts better than any other critic’s whatsoever — firstly because you are a critic — and secondly because you are outright downright and upright in your criticism.” Turning to the June Graham’s, Thomas endorses Poe’s unfavorable verdict on Gallagher’s anthology: “I am glad you ‘rapped Gallagher over the knuckles[’] — He deserved it . . . He is between you and me as morbid an egotist and as envious a fellow as you will find in the sea’s compass.” In “The Island of the Fay” Poe has “struck a new vein” (MB-G).

[1841] 29 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Griswold in Boston, forwarding a number of his poems for possible inclusion in The Poets and Poetry of America: “I should be proud to see one or two of them in your book.” The poem entitled “The Haunted Palace” is the one Poe discussed with Griswold “in reference to Prof. Longfellow’s plagiarism.” It was first published in the Baltimore American Museum. Poe afterwards incorporated it in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which appeared in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine in September 1839: “Here it was, I suppose, that Prof. Longfellow saw it; for, about 6 weeks afterwards, there appeared in the South. Lit. Mess: a poem by him called ‘The Beleaguered City’ . . . . The identity in title is striking; for by the Haunted Palace I mean to imply a mind haunted by phantoms — a disordered brain — and by the Beleaguered City Prof. L. means just the same. But the whole tournure of the poem is based upon mine . . . . Its allegorical conduct, the style of its versification & expression — all are mine.” As Poe understands that Griswold intends “to preface each set of poems by some biographical notice,” he is enclosing a “memo” outlining “the particulars” of his life (L, 1:160-61; facsimile of memo in Robertson, 2:284-85).

[1841] AFTER 29 MAY? BOSTON. Griswold writes Poe, requesting assistance in obtaining biographical sketches of the Maryland poet Edward Coote Pinkney and the Kentucky poetess Amelia Welby for his anthology (Thomas to Griswold, 8 June).

[1841] EARLY JUNE? PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Griswold that Thomas can provide suitable sketches. He then informs Thomas of Griswold’s request (Thomas to Griswold, 8 June).

[1841] 8 JUNE. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Griswold in Boston:

My friend Edgar A. Poe, of Graham’s Magazine, Philadelphia, wrote me the other day informing me that you were about publishing a volume of American poetry, and that you were desirous of having sketches biographical of Pinckney [Pinkney] of Baltimore and “Amelia” of Kentucky. He also stated to me that he had replied to you that I could furnish you the sketches, and he advised me to write to you on the subject. [page 329:]

Pinckney I formerly knew, and I have the pleasure of knowing personally as well as poetically “Amelia.” Having been a Baltimorean and being lately of the West I feel a natural interest in the fame of both those individuals.

It would give me pleasure to furnish you the sketches, as my friend Poe writes me that you “pay well and promptly.” A thing as excellent in a man, as silence, according to old Lear, is excellent in a woman. If you should like me to furnish you the sketches aforesaid I should be glad to hear from you in the premises (Griswold [1898], pp. 66-67).

[1841] 12 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reprints Poe’s poem “The Coliseum” (Mabbott [1969], 1:227).

[1841] 14 JUNE. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to two recent letters from Poe. Because he has been suffering from a fever “these four days past,” he was not able to return the proof sheets of his article until yesterday. He simply added several lines to replace the sheet which was lost: “To require me to furnish that lost copy would be like requiring me without the aid of astronomy or telescope to discuss the lost Pleiad.” Graham’s order on the periodical agent Thomas R. Hampton was paid, “at least the last ten dollars of it,” only four days ago. Thomas would be very willing to join Poe in establishing a magazine: “Let me hear from you again on the subject — I have friends throughout the broad west, [who] would be glad to advance my literary interest in the west — and who have a high regard for your literary reputation.” He answers Poe’s questions:

Yes I have read your “Descent into a Maelstrom”: I did not like it as much as several of your other articles; but I must say to you that a friend, of mine, whose ability I respect, in the highest degree, thinks it one of your best papers — and he has the “tallest” kind of opinion of you —

I saw your challenge about decyphering — I feel satisfied that you can fullfil [sic] it — so do it and excite the wonder of the people (MB-G).

[1841] 21 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Washington Irving in Tarrytown, New York: “Mr George R. Graham of this city, and myself, design to establish a Monthly Magazine, upon certain conditions, one of which is the procuring your assistance in the enterprise. Will you pardon me for saying a few words upon the subject?” The foremost authors of Europe now contribute to magazines: “In this country, unhappily, we have not any journal of the class, which either can afford to offer pecuniary inducement to the highest talent, or which would be, in all respects, a fitting vehicle for its thoughts.” The magazine Poe envisions to remedy this deficiency will be “an octavo of 96 pages,” with paper “of excellent quality” and “clear and bold” type: “The printing will be done upon a hand press, in the best manner. There will be a broad margin. We shall have no engravings, except occasional wood-cuts (by Adams) when demanded in obvious [page 330:] illustration of the text; and, when so required, they will be worked in with the type — not upon separate pages, as in ‘Arcturus.” . . . The price will be $5.” In the new journal Poe and Graham intend to publish “contributions from the most distinguished pens (of America) exclusively,” admitting few articles from other sources:

We shall endeavour to engage the permanent services of yourself, Mr Cooper, Mr Paulding, Mr Kennedy, Mr Longfellow, Mr Bryant, Mr Halleck, Mr Willis, and perhaps, one or two others. In fact, as before said, our ability to make these arrangements is a condition without which the Magazine will not go into operation . . . .

It would be desirable that you agree to furnish one paper each month — either absolute or serial — and of such length as you might deem proper. We leave terms entirely to your own decision. . . . It would be necessary that an agreement should be made for one year, during which period you should be pledged not to write for any other American Magazine. The journal will be commenced on the first of January 1842 . . . .

With this letter I despatch one of similar tenor to each of the gentlemen above named (L, 1:161-63).

[Poe’s letters to Cooper, Kennedy, Longfellow, and Halleck are basically identical with his letter to Irving, revealing only minor variations. The letters sent to Paulding, Bryant, and Willis have not been located.]

[1841] 21 JUNE. Poe writes Kennedy in Baltimore, adding several sentences not found in the other letters:

I believe I sent you, some time ago, a Prospectus of the “Penn Magazine”, the scheme of which was broken up by the breaking up of the banks. The name will be preserved — and the general intentions, of that journal. . . .

I look most anxiously for your answer; for it is of vital importance to me, personally. This you will see at once. Mr Graham is to furnish all supplies, and will give me, merely for editorial service, and my list of subscribers to the old “Penn”, a half interest in the proposed Magazine — but he will only engage in the enterprize on the conditions before stated — on condition that I can obtain as contributors the gentlemen above named — or at least the most of them — giving them carte blanche as to terms. Your name will enable me, I know, to get several of the others (L, 1:163-66).

George R. Graham [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 331]
 
George R. Graham

[1841] CA. 21 JUNE. Poe writes Cooper in Cooperstown, New York (Thomas [1978], pp. 234-37).

[1841] 22 JUNE. Poe writes Longfellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “Your letter of the 19th May was received. I regret to find my anticipations confirmed, and that you cannot make it convenient to accept Mr Graham’s proposition. Will you now pardon me for making another?” He solicits Longfellow’s contributions, adding an inducement not offered in the other letters: [page 332:] “Should illustrations be desired by you, these will be engraved at our expense, from designs at your own, superintended by yourself.” Observing that Longfellow spoke of “present engagements” in last month’s letter, Poe points out: “The proposed journal will not be commenced until the 1st January 1842” (L, 1:166-68).

[1841] 24 JUNE. Poe writes Halleck in New York (L, 1:168-70).

[1841] 24 JUNE. TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK. Irving replies to Poe (cited on Poe’s 21 June letter).

[1841] AFTER 24 JUNE. NEW YORK. Halleck replies to Poe. However eminent the magazine’s contributors may be, it is on Poe’s “own fine taste, sound judgment, and great general ability for the task, that the public will place the firmest reliance” (fragment quoted in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, 4 March 1843).

[1841] 26 JUNE. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter the editor John Beauchamp Jones comments: “F. W. Thomas, Esq., the author of several popular novels, and a fine poet withal, has recently received an appointment in the Treasury Department. We are glad to find that this administration is inclined to reward literary as well as political talent; for in our opinion a literary man may confer as much honor on his native country as a politician — the united strength of both form national character.”

[1841] 26 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Thomas:

I have just heard through Graham, who obtained his information from Ingraham, that you have stepped into an office at Washington — salary $1000. From the bottom of my heart I wish you joy. You can now lucubrate more at your ease & will infallibly do something worthy yourself.

For my own part, notwithstanding Graham’s unceasing civility, and real kindness, I feel more & more disgusted with my situation. Would to God, I could do as you have done. Do you seriously think that an application on my part to Tyler would have a good result? My claims, to be sure, are few. I am a Virginian — at least I call myself one, for I have resided all my life, until within the last few years, in Richmond. My political principles have always been as nearly as may be, with the existing administration, and I battled with right good will for Harrison, when opportunity offered. With Mr Tyler I have some slight personal acquaintance — although this is a matter which he has possibly forgotten. For the rest, I am a literary man — and I see a disposition in government to cherish letters. Have I any chance? (L, 1:170-71).

[1841] JULY. Graham’s contains “A Few Words on Secret Writing,” in which Poe solves the two ciphers submitted by “S. D. L.” in his 21 April letter. Poe [page 333:] reviews Hugh A. Pue’s Grammar of the English Language, Seba Smith’s Powhatan, and the other books noticed in this issue (except The Works of Lord Bolingbroke) .

[1841] 1 JULY. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe’s 26 June letter:

I trust, my dear friend, that you can obtain an appointment. President Tyler I have not seen except in passing in his carriage — never having called at the White House since the death of Harrison except to see the sons of the President, and then they were not in — could n’t you slip on here and see the president yourself — or if you would prefer it I will see him for you — but perhaps your application had better be made through someone who has influence with the executive. I have heard you say that J. P Kennedy has a regard for you — he is here a Congressman and would serve you — would he not? My employment is merely temporary. I had a letter of introduction to the Secretary of the Treasury, [Thomas Ewing,] from my friend Governor Corwin of Ohio, merely introducing me as a “literary character” — I did not then expect to ask office, but finding that publishing was at a low ebb, I waited on Mr. Ewing and told him frankly how I was situated and that I should like to be making something; he with great kindness installed me here.

Thomas encloses a cipher composed by his friend Dr. Charles S. Frailey, a clerk in the General Land Office: “If you decypher it then you are a magician — for he has used as I think much art in making it” (W, 17:92-93).

[1841] 2 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo R Graham Fifty Five doll[ar]s” (PP-G).

[1841] 4 JULY. Poe replies to Thomas:

Call upon Kennedy — you know him, I believe — if not introduce yourself — he is a perfect gentleman and will give you cordial welcome. Speak to him of my wishes, and urge him to see the Secretary of War in my behalf — or one of the other Secretaries — or President Tyler. I mention in particular the Secretary of War, because I have been to W. Point, and this may stand me in some stead. I would be glad to get almost any appointment — even a $500 one — so that I have something independent of letters for a subsistence. To coin one’s brain into silver, at the nod of a master, is to my thinking the hardest task in the world.

Poe deciphers Frailey’s cryptograph, pointing out that it exceeds the limits of his challenge “because it cannot be readily decyphered by the person to whom it is addressed, and who possesses the key. In proof of this, I will publish it in the Mag: with a reward to any one who shall read it with the key, and I am pretty sure that no one will be found to do it. . . . will you be kind enough to get from his own hand an acknowledgment of my [page 334:] solution, adding your own acknowledgment, in such form that I may append both to the cipher by way of note. I wish to do this because I am seriously accused of humbug in this matter — a thing I despise. People will not believe I really decipher the puzzles” (L, 1:171-74; Moldenhauer [1973], p. 51).

[1841] 6 JULY. WASHINGTON. In the morning Thomas receives Poe’s letter and forwards his solution to Frailey.

[1841] 6 JULY. Frailey writes Thomas:

It gives me pleasure to state that the reading by Mr. Poe of the cryptograph which I gave you a few days since for transmission to him is correct.

I am the more astonished at this, since for various words of two, three and four letters, a distinct character was used for each in order to prevent the discovery of some of those words, by their frequent repetition in a cryptograph of any length and applying them to other words. I also used a distinct character for the terminations tion and sion, and substituted in every word where it was possible, some of the characters above alluded to. Where the same word of two of those letters occurred frequently, the letters of the key phrase and the characters were alternately used, to increase the difficulty (W, 14:139-40).

[1841] 6 JULY. Thomas forwards Frailey’s letter of acknowledgment to Poe, adding his own statement:

Doctor Frailey had heard me speak of your having deciphered a letter which our mutual friend, Dow, wrote upon a challenge from you last year, at my lodgings in your city, when Aaron Burr’s correspondence in cipher was the subject of our conversation. You laughed at what you termed Burr’s shallow artifice, and said you could decipher any such cryptography easily. To test you on the spot, Dow withdrew to the corner of the room, and wrote a letter in cipher, which you solved in a much shorter time than it took him to indite it.

As Doctor Frailey seemed to doubt your skill to the extent of my belief in it, when your article on “Secret Writing” appeared in the last number of your Magazine, I showed it to him. After reading it, he remarked that he thought he could puzzle you, and the next day he handed me the cryptograph which I transmitted to you. He did not tell me the key (W, 14:136-37).

[1841] 7 JULY. Thomas writes Poe again. Since Congress is in session, he may not be able to see Kennedy for several days. He will, however, see President Tyler on Friday, having been invited to dine with him by “his son” [presumably Robert Tyler]. Thomas stresses that he lacks “address” with the administration, and that there are “thousands of applicants”; but he feels certain of Poe’s eventual success in obtaining a clerkship. “I know very few of the ‘bigbugs’ here, having kept myself to myself, but I think I have skill enough to commit your merits to those, who, though not women, will be more skilful advocates of your claims” (W, 17:94-95). [page 335:]

[1841] 7 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes William Landor, a contributor to Graham’s: “I duly received both your notes, and, daily, since the reception of the first, have been intending to reply. The cause of my not having done so is my failure to obtain certain definite information from the printer to whom I had allusion, and who still keeps me in momentary expectation of an answer. I merely write these few words now, lest you should think my silence proceeds from discourtesy.” In a postscript Poe mentions that he wrote all the reviews in the July Graham’s, except that on Bolingbroke: “There are passages in that critique which I am sure are stolen, although I cannot put my hand upon the original. Your acquaintance with Bolingbroke’s commentators is more extensive than my own. Can you aid me in tracing the theft?” (L, 1:174).

[“William Landor” was actually the pseudonym of the wealthy Philadelphian Horace Binney Wallace.]

[1841] 10 JULY. The Saturday Evening Post carries an advertisement for the “New Volume” of Graham’s, which commences with the July number. “We print now per month an edition of 17,000 Copies.”

[1841] 12 JULY. Poe replies to a 10 July letter from Joseph Evans Snodgrass in Baltimore:

You flatter me about the Maelström. It was finished in a hurry, and therefore its conclusion is imperfect. Upon the whole it is neither so good, nor has it been 1/2 so popular as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. I have a paper in the August no: which will please you.

Among the Reviews (for August) I have one which will, at least, surprise you. It is a long notice of a satire by a quondam Baltimorean L. A. Wilmer. You must get this satire & read it — it is really good — good in the old-fashioned Dryden style. It blazes away, too, to the right & left — sparing not. I have made it the text from which to preach a fire-&-fury sermon upon critical independence, and the general literary humbuggery of the day.

A portion of this review previously appeared in the defunct Pittsburgh Literary Examiner: “It was edited by E. Burke Fisher Esqre — th[a]n whom a greater scamp never walked. He wrote to me offering 4$ per page for criticisms, promising to put them in as contributions — not editorially. The first thing I saw was one of my articles under the editorial head, so altered that I hardly recognized it, and interlarded with all manner of bad English and ridiculous opinions of his own.” Poe asks Snodgrass to call at the Baltimore Post Office and inquire for the letter he sent Kennedy on 21 June: “By some absence of mind I directed it to that city in place of Washington. If still in the P.O. will you forward it to Washington?” (L, 1:175-77). [page 336:]

[1841] 13 JULY. In the Daily Chronicle Charles W. Alexander discusses Poe’s article on “Secret Writing” in the July Graham’s:

The subject is altogether a remarkable one, and we cannot wonder that it has excited interest and surprise. In a previous number of the magazine, Mr. P. put forth what may be termed a challenge, in respect to secret writing; offering to read any cipher of a species designated — this species, in itself, being the most difficult of all. This challenge met with but a single response, and the cypher sent in this case is deciphered in the July number.

Pursuing the subject, Mr. P. speaks of a weekly paper of this city, to which, about two years ago, similar ciphers were sent upon a similar challenge, and promptly deciphered by himself. The paper alluded to is “Alexander’s Messenger,” the proprietor of which is also one of the proprietors and editors of the “Daily Chronicle.” Mr. Poe’s statements need no endorsement; but the article in question, in its reference to us, would seem to call for some acknowledgment at our hands. We, therefore, take occasion to say that what he has asserted, however difficult of belief, is true to the letter. Ciphers were poured in upon us from all parts of the country, and in every instance promptly unriddled. It was found nearly impossible to convince our readers that we were not humbugging them; and as a great many of them would be satisfied with nothing short of demonstration in their own persons, the consequence was that we were overflooded with communications, and had, at length, to put a stop to the matter.

The cyphers now solved by Mr. Poe, are far more abstruse than even those to which we allude. How it is possible to read them, is a mystery.

[1841] 19 JULY. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe. He has gone twice to ask Kennedy to aid Poe, but as yet he has not succeeded in seeing him because the House of Representatives is in session. “President Tyler is opposed to removals in office here — Twelve Locofocos were turned out on Saturday late, and it is said the President has reinstated all but 5 — But this is a mere rumor.” Thomas reports his attendance at the dinner mentioned in his 7 July letter: “I enjoyed myself much at the Presidents [sic], but as it was a formal dinner party I had not an opportunity of speaking to him especially of you — These public men are occupied so much that it is difficult to see them” (MB-G).

[1841] AFTER 19 JULY. Thomas writes Poe again. He has met with Kennedy, who expressed a willingness to aid Poe (Thomas to Poe, 30 August).

[1841] 24 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo R Graham One hundred & five . . . $105 to November 17th” (PP-G).

[1841] 28 JULY. HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY. The body of Miss Mary Rogers, a salesgirl in a Manhattan cigar store, is found in the Hudson River. She has been brutally murdered by persons unknown. [page 337:]

[This famous unsolved crime provided the basis for Poe’s novelette “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” See Walsh, passim, and Mabbott (1978), 3:715-22.]

[1841] 31 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reprints Poe’s “Ballad” from the Southern Literary Messenger for January 1837. The heading wrongfully describes the poem as “Written for the Saturday Evening Post” (cf. Poe to L. J. Cist, 18 September).

[1841] AUGUST. Graham’s contains Poe’s tale “The Colloquy of Monos and Una,” as well as his reviews of Lambert A. Wilmer’s verse satire The Quacks of Helicon, Washington Irving’s Biography and Poetical Remains of the late Margaret Miller Davidson, John L. Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, and several other works. In a second installment of “Secret Writing;’ Poe prints Charles S. Frailey’s cipher and the 6 July acknowledgments of his solution from Frailey and Thomas. He offers a year’s subscription to Graham’s and the Saturday Evening Post to any reader who solves it: “We have no expectation that it will be read; and, therefore, should the month pass without an answer forthcoming, we will furnish the key to the cipher, and again offer a year’s subscription to the Magazine, to any person who shall solve it with the key.”

[1841] 7 AUGUST. The Saturday Evening Post reports that the proprietor of Graham’s spent $1,300 on “embellishments” for the August number: “The embellishments consist of the ‘Penitent Son,’ one of Sartain’s exquisite Mezzotinto’s [sic] on steel. A Lace pattern with a boquett [sic] of flowers, handsomely colored: — A plate of elegantly colored Fashions for the month, compiled from the late arrivals from London and Paris, consisting of four figures, a Gentleman and three Ladies, and two pages of music.”

[This report does much to explain why Poe felt “more & more disgusted” with his position (26 June letter to Thomas).]

[1841] 10 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. A correspondent who signs himself “Timotheus Whackemwell” writes Poe, enclosing two ciphers (W, 14:138).

[1841] 11 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Believing that the handwriting of “Whackemwell” is that of John N. McJilton, Poe addresses a reply to this Baltimore author:

Your letter of yesterday is this moment received. A glance at the cipher which you suppose the more difficult of the two sent, assures me that its translation must run thus —

“This specimen of secret writing is sent you for explanation. If you succeed in [page 338:] divining its meaning, I will believe that you are some kin to Old Nick.”

As my solution in this case will fully convince you of my ability to decipher the longer but i[n]f[ini]tely more simple cryptograph, you will perhaps exc[use] me from attempting it — as I am exceedingly occupied with business (L, 1:177).

[1841] 13 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Mcjilton returns Poe’s letter with a brief comment written on the bottom: “This is certainly intended for some one else, I know nothing of the matter whatever, nor should I be able to tell how the thing happened, but having seen the piece headed secret writing pubd in Graham’s mag. noticed somewhere, I suppose some wag has addressed you anonymously whom you have mistaken for me” (W, 17:100).

[1841] 13 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Lea & Blanchard. He wishes to publish a new edition of his prose tales, which would include the eight stories he has completed since this firm issued his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. The proposed collection would consist of thirty-three tales and “would occupy two thick novel volumes.” Poe is anxious that Lea & Blanchard continue to be his publishers: “I should be glad to accept the terms which you allowed me before — that is — you receive all profits, and allow me twenty copies for distribution to friends” (L, 1:178).

[1841] 14 AUGUST. Poe writes Horatio Hastings Weld, editor of the Brother Jonathan, a New York weekly. He solicits Weld’s autograph for inclusion in his “Autography” articles, soon to be published in Graham’s Magazine: “The design is three-fold: first, to give the Autograph signature — that is, a fac-simile in woodcut — of each of our most distinguished literati; second, to maintain that the character is, to a certain extent, indicated by the chirography; and thirdly, to embody, under each Autograph, some literary gossip about the individual, with a brief comment on his writings. . . . We are still in want of the Autographs of Sprague, Hoffman, Dawes, Bancroft, Emerson, Whittier, R. A. Locke, and Stephens, the traveller.” If Weld has one of these autographs, and will permit an engraving to be taken from it, Poe “will endeavor to reciprocate the obligation” (L, 1:179-80).

[1841] 16 AUGUST. Lea & Blanchard reply to Poe’s 13 August letter: “In answer we very much regret to say that the state of affairs is such as to give little encouragement to new undertakings. As yet we have not got through the edition of the other work & up to this time it has not returned to us the expense of its publication. We assure you that we regret this on your account as well as our own, as it would give us great pleasure to promote your views in relation to publication” (W, 17:101-02; Ostrom [1981], p. 202). [page 339:]

[1841] 18 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Rufus W. Griswold writes his Philadelphia publishers Carey & Hart: “I have resigned the conduct of the papers with which I have been connected in Boston, to superintend in person the stereotyping of ‘The Poets and Poetry of America.’ . . . I shall be in Philadelphia next week” (NNPM).

[1841] 21 AUGUST. WASHINGTON. The Index, a new Democratic paper edited by Poe’s friend Jesse E. Dow, commences publication.

[1841] AFTER 25? AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Griswold visits the office of Graham’s and leaves a note for Poe, requesting him to furnish a biographical sketch of Thomas for The Poets and Poetry of America (Poe to Thomas, 1 September).

[1841] 30 AUGUST. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe, explaining that he has not corresponded because of illness. Previously, he wrote that he contacted John P. Kennedy, who offered to assist Poe in obtaining a government position. “Sure I have conversed with the President’s sons about you — they think the president will be able and willing to give you a situation, but they say, and I felt the truth of the remark before it was made, that at the present crisis when everything is ‘hurlyburly’ it would be of no avail to apply to him. He is much perplexed, as you may suppose amidst the conflicting parties, the anticipated cabinet break up, etc.” Thomas promises to see President Tyler when the crisis has passed and to write Poe describing the interview. The articles on cryptography have caused “quite a talk” in Washington; Hampton, the bookseller, had a heavy demand for the August number of Graham’s. Thomas asks a favor: “Poe, I have a song that has been set to a very pretty tune, by a gentleman here. I would like to have it published, and will give it to any music publisher who would undertake it. . . . Will you make some inquiry with regard to the publishing it” (W, 17:102-03).

[1841] SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s contains Poe’s “Never Bet Your Head: A Moral Tale,” his revised poem “To Helen,” and his reviews of Frederick Marryat’s novel Joseph Rushhrook and Thomas Campbell’s Life of Petrarch.

[1841] CA. 1 SEPTEMBER. Carey & Hart issue the Gift for 1842, which contains Poe’s tale “Eleonora.”

[1841] 1 SEPTEMBER. Poe writes Thomas: “Griswold left a note for me at the office, the other day, requesting me to furnish him with some memoranda of your life [for The Poets and Poetry of America]; and it will, of course, give [page 340:] me great pleasure to do so; but . . . I find that neither myself, nor Mrs Clemm, upon whom I mainly depend for information, can give all the necessary points with sufficient precision.” Poe needs more details as soon as possible, because Griswold’s anthology is already in press: “When & where were you born? With whom did you study law? What was (exactly) the cause of your lameness? How did you first become known to the literary world? Who were your most intimate associates in Baltimore? When did you remove to Cincinnati? With what papers have you been occasionally connected — if with any?” Poe inquires about Jesse E. Dow and his newspaper. He himself will probably remain with Graham, even if he starts the Penn Magazine in January; he has had “some excellent offers respecting the ‘Penn’ and it is more than probable that it will go on.” The success of Graham’s Magazine is astonishing: “we shall print 20,000 copies shortly” (L, 1:180-81).

[1841] 3 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe, forwarding a long account of his career (W, 17:95-100).

[1841] 4 SEPTEMBER. BOSTON. The Boston Notion reprints “Eleonora” on its front page. On another page the Notion reviews the Gift, praising this story: “Poe’s contribution is written with much power, and in that gentleman’s peculiar style” (Pollin [1970b], p. 26).

[1841] 4 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. The oversize weekly Brother Jonathan reprints “Never Bet Your Head” from Graham’s. Poe’s tale appears in the 7 September issue of the weekly’s quarto edition, Jonathan’s Miscellany (Heartman and Canny, pp. 168, 215-16).

[1841] 9 SEPTEMBER. PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI. Richard Bolton, a reader of Graham’s, writes Poe, enclosing the solution to the Frailey cipher published in the August number (Bolton to Poe, 4 November).

[1841] 11 SEPTEMBER. BALTIMORE. John Beauchamp Jones reviews the September Graham’s in the Saturday Visiter: “If one half the dollars laid out for engravings were only expended on authors of genius, these flashy things would live longer, be more profitable to the publishers, and do more credit to the country.”

[In the Saturday Evening Post for 28 August, Graham had boasted that the number’s “leading embellishment” was “a magnificent steel line engraving, entitled ‘Cottage Fireside,’ ” which “cost the proprietor of the Magazine over four hundred dollars.”] [page 341:]

[1841] 15 SEPTEMBER. BOSTON. Roberts’ Semi-Monthly Magazine reprints Poe’s “Eleonora” (Pollin [1970b], p. 26).

[1841] 18 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. The Weekly Tribune reprints “Eleonora.” The tale appears in the Daily Tribune on 20 September (Heartman and Canny, p. 228).

[1841] 18 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to a 30 August letter from Lewis J. Cist of Cincinnati, who complained that his poem “Bachelor Philosophy,” submitted for the Penn Magazine, has been published in the Saturday Evening Post under the caption “written for The Post.” Although Poe has been “guilty of a sad neglect,” he is innocent of “any intentional disrespect or discourtesy.” When he joined Graham’s Magazine, he delivered Cist’s poem and other manuscripts submitted for the Penn into the custody of Charles J. Peterson, “the then editor of that journal” whose duties included “revising MSS for press and attending to the general arrangement of the matter.” Poe intended to obtain permission from the Penn contributors to publish their articles in Graham’s, and his impression was that he had secured Cist’s consent. “Mr. Peterson, however, (who has a third interest in the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ and superintends the ‘getting up’ of that paper also) has taken the unwarrantable liberty, it seems, of using the poem to suit his own views — leaving out of question my positive understanding and intention on the subject.” In extenuation Poe cites “the confusion attendant upon the joint issue of a paper and Magazine,” adding that his duties on Graham’s have nothing to do with the disposition of manuscripts: “I merely write the Reviews, with a tale monthly, and read the last proofs.” Peterson, in using Cist’s poem for the Post, is guilty of “a falsehood wilfully perpetrated — of a kind which he is in the habit of perpetrating.” Recently Poe gave his poem “A Ballad” to Peterson for “republication” in the Post, with the understanding that it was to appear under the caption “From the Southern Literary Messenger.” Peterson published it under the same caption as Cist’s “Bachelor Philosophy” (L, 1:181-82; Moldenhauer [1973], p. 52).

[1841] 19 SEPTEMBER. Poe replies to a 6 September letter from Snodgrass, who discussed “Never Bet Your Head” in this month’s Graham’s: “You are mistaken about ‘The Dial’. I have no quarrel in the world with that illustrious journal, nor it with me. I am not aware that it ever mentioned my name, or alluded to me either directly or indirectly. My slaps at it were only in ‘a general way.’ The tale in question is a mere Extravaganza levelled at no one in particular, but hitting right & left at things in [page 342:] general.” Poe thanks Snodgrass for inquiring after the 21 June letter he directed to John P. Kennedy at Baltimore. “It is not impossible that Graham will join me in The ‘Penn.’ He has money. By the way, is it impossible to start a first-class Mag: in Baltimore? Is there no publisher or gentleman of moderate capital who would join me in the scheme?” (L, 1:183-84).

[1841] 20 SEPTEMBER. Poe replies to Thomas’ 30 August letter, offering to publish his song in Graham’s. Poe inquires whether Thomas can provide the signatures of Joseph Rodman Drake and George D. Prentice for his forthcoming “Autography” series (Thomas’ reply).

[1841] 22 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe:

Yours postmarked the 20th I received yesterday. I do not wonder that you have been annoyed by cryptographic connoisseurs. Your astonishing power of decyphering secret writing is to me a puzzle which I can’t solve. Thats a curious head-piece of yours, and I should like to know what phrenologists say about it. Did you ever have your head examined? And what said the examiner? . . .

I remember well your autographic articles in the Southern Literary Messenger — They were very interesting — No, I have not either Prentice’s or Drake’s autograph’s here — but I could get them for you — The President’s Mr Webster’s and others of the eminent politicians and statesmen here I can easily obtain for you — if you include them in your plan — About my song — (don’t put yourself to any trouble in the matter) — I should like to have it published in a sheet, by some publishers or other — I don’t ask anything for it — and only want a few copies to give to a fair friend or so, which I am willing to buy — If you cannot get any publisher to publish it as I here propose, will you a[s]certain for me what it will cost to publish it on my own account — It is a song of four verses of four lines each — There is no music publishers here or I would not trouble you in the matter — My only objection to publishing it in the magazine is that I could not present copies of it — and if it should be popular . . . it could not be obtained in a form likely to give it . . . circulation.

Thomas discusses the political climate of Washington; he regrets “the break up in the cabinet,” especially the resignation of his patron Thomas Ewing, the Secretary of the Treasury. On the other hand, he is heartened by his growing intimacy with the Tylers: “I think that the President and family have a kind feeling towards me, and I shall put my trust there. . . . I have just received an invitation to dinner there to day.” Thomas and his friend Robert Tyler, the President’s oldest son, frequently speak of Poe (MB-G).

[1841] 24 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Thomas. He has arranged for the music publisher George Willig, 171 Chestnut Street, to issue Thomas’ song: “He says he cannot afford to give anything for it beyond a [page 343:] few copies — but will promise to get it up handsomely. I suppose you had better send it through me.” Poe still needs the autographs of Drake, Prentice, and Amelia Welby: “If you can get them soon I would be greatly obliged. Our design includes only literary people” (L, 2:696).

[1841] BEFORE 25 SEPTEMBER. Graham’s for October contains Poe’s revised poem “Israfel” and the third installment of his “Secret Writing,” which reveals the solution and the key to the Frailey cipher. A footnote appears on the first page of the review section: “Owing to the temporary absence of Mr. Poe, the reviews in this number are from another hand. That department is exclusively under the control of Mr. Poe. C. J. Peterson, his coadjutor, has the charge of the other departments of the work.”

[1841] 25 SEPTEMBER. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo R Graham Thirty Three Doll[ar]s and fifty Cents on acct of editing Magazine” (TxU-HRCL).

[1841] 25 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Jesse E. Dow reviews the October Graham’s in the Index, commenting that “its main editor, Edgar A. Poe, Esq., a Richmond boy by adoption, is the severest critic, the best writer, and the most unassuming little fellow in the United States.”

[1841] 27 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe’s 24 September letter, apparently forwarding his song (cited on Poe’s letter).

[1841] 9 OCTOBER. BOSTON. The Boston Notion reviews the October Graham’s, describing Poe’s poem [“Israfel”] as praiseworthy (Pollin [1970b], p. 26).

[1841] 13 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Recd . . . of Geo. R. Graham Sixty Dollars and Ninety Cents on acct of editing Magazine” (TxU-HRCL).

[1841] 14 OCTOBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe: “Did you receive the MS: music I sent you the other day — What says Willig of it — How does your lady and mother like the tune? . . . Dow is well — He has gone to housekeeping — does better out of office he says than in — He edits the ‘Index’ . . . . Do you know Judge [Abel Parker] Upshur the new secretary of the Navy? He could be of service to you in your views here — Let me know if you do” (MB-G).

[1841] BEFORE 19 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. The November Graham’s is ready for circulation. It contains the first installment of Poe’s “A Chapter on Autography,” as well as his reviews of William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel Guy Fawkes, [page 344:] Isaac D’Israeli’s Amenities of Literature, Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Critical and Miscellaneous Writings, Charles Dickens’ Pic-Nic Papers, W. F. Napier’s History of the War in the Peninsula, and Samuel Warren’s novel Ten Thousand a Year. In noticing the Gift for 1842, Poe describes his own “Eleonora” as a tale “which is not ended so well as it might be — a good subject spoiled by hurry in the handling.”

[1841] BEFORE 19 OCTOBER. George R. Graham sends his November number to Park Benjamin, editor of the New World (implied by Benjamin’s 19 October letter).

[1841] 19 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Benjamin writes Graham, proposing to reprint “Autography”:

Will you loan the New World the wood-blocks of the autographs, which appear in your Magazine for November? If you will cause them to be placed in the hands of Mr. G. B. Zieber, agent of the New World, he will safely forward them to us and they shall be as safely returned. I should be glad to receive them as early as Monday of next week. If you will have the goodness to comply with this request, it will spare us some expense, and it will afford us much pleasure to reciprocate by printing your table of contents and by noticing the admirable style in which your Magazine is presented to the public.

Benjamin is glad to hear of Graham’s success. “I thank Mr Poe heartily for his just notice” (MB-G).

[1841] 23 OCTOBER. The New World contains Benjamin’s review:

THE NOVEMBER NUMBER OF GRAHAM’S LADY’S AND GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE which we have received, anticipatory of its day of publication, is marked equally by the richness of its embellishments and the excellence of its literature. It seems to us that this periodical is edited with singular ability and vigor; although characteristics like these every reader has a right to expect from so accomplished and forcible a writer and critic as Mr. Edgar A. Poe. . . .

The most interesting article in this number, though, perhaps, we say it that should not, since our own vile chirography figures among the rest — is one by Mr. Poe on autography. His remarks display great acumen and some severity; but they are honest and kind, and, for the most part, correct.

[1841] 26 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, forwarding Graham’s for November. Lowell will find Poe’s “Autography” of interest. Next month’s installment will feature “sixty more signatures”; some of the subjects will be very minor writers; “and the public will be not a little like the wonderers at flies in amber, as Pope has it — they’ll ‘wonder how the d—d things got there.’ ” Lowell’s autograph will appear in this December installment: “However you must [page 345:] keep your temper & not scout for the company you are in . . . . I send you the sheet on which it will appear enclosed in your Nov. number. I hope the notice appended to your name will please you. It is by Poe. He lost your Scrip or your name would have figured in Novr” (MH-H).

[1841] 27 OCTOBER. Poe replies to Thomas’ 14 October letter: “I received your last some days ago, and have delayed answering it, in hope that I might say your song was out, and that I might give you my opinion and Virginia’s about its merits.” Yesterday Poe called on the music publisher George Willig, who promised that the song would be ready by next Monday: “As soon as it is done, he will forward some copies (he did not say how many) to your address at Washington.” Although Poe is not personally acquainted with Judge Upshur, he has a high opinion of the new Secretary of the Navy: “He is not only the most graceful speaker I ever heard, but one of the most graceful & luminous writers. His head is a model for statuary.” Poe answers Thomas’ query in his 22 September letter: “Speaking of heads — my own has been examined by several phrenologists — all of whom spoke of me in a species of extravaganza which I should be ashamed to repeat.” Thomas’ name was omitted from the November installment of “Autography” because of “the length of the comment upon it. It heads the list in the December no; which is already finished.” Poe is glad to learn of Dow’s prosperity: “I wonder he never sends me an ‘Index’.” When Graham combined Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and the Casket last December, “the joint list of both Mags. was 5000. In January we print 25000. Such a thing was never heard of before. Ah, if we could only get up the ‘Penn’! I have made a definite engagement with Graham for 1842 — but nothing to interfere with my own scheme, should I be able by any good luck, to go into it. Graham holds out a hope of his joining me in July. Is there no one among your friends at Washington — no one having both brains & funds who would engage in such an enterprise?” (L, 1:184-85).

[1841] 29 OCTOBER. The Public Ledger publishes “Three Thursdays in One Week,” an unsigned article which is a source for Poe’s story “A Succession of Sundays” (see 27 NOVEMBER).

[1841] 29 OCTOBER. Robert Morris reviews the November Graham’s in the Pennsylvania Inquirer: “The most singular, and at the same time, the most interesting article in the work, is the chapter on autographs, which present[s] ‘fac similes’ of the signatures of about one half of the best authors of our country, with a brief critical notice of the style of each — the other half to be given in December. We predict, therefore, that the November and December numbers of this Miscellany, will be carefully treasured up by many of its readers.” [page 346:]

[1841] 29 OCTOBER. JACKSON, TENNESSEE. John Tomlin writes Poe:

Sergeant N Talfourd Esq of London, says to me in his letter of August the 11th 1841 — “I transcribe my last Effusion — on an occasion very dear to me.” The following Sonnet, composed in view of Eton College after leaving his Eldest Son there for the first time, is the Effusion he alluded to.

I feel proud of having it in my power, of sending to you for for [sic] publication in Graham’s Magazine “an Original Article[”] from the pen of this high minded and gifted individual. Powerful as his intellect is, it is not more powerful, than his heart is tender, and warmed by a parent’s feeling! From the buried treasures of his heart gushes [sic] Sentiments full of tenderness and love — and with a father’s feeling he is carried to that distant day when his Son takes his place in the toiling struggles of life (MB-G).

[Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd was a British jurist, playwright, and poet; his “Sonnet,” transcribed by Tomlin, appeared in the January 1842 Graham’s. Tomlin submitted other “contributions” to Graham’s taken from personal letters he had received. See his 1 and 12 December 1841 letters to Poe.]

[1841] BEFORE 30 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. The Evening Mail notices the November Graham’s: “Among the articles which interested us most was the article on autography, by E. A. Poe. We wish we had the cuts, so that we might transfer it.”

[1841] 30 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reviews Graham’s: “A most capital chapter on Autography, by Edgar A. Poe, graces the number. The article contains forty-two signatures of our best American writers, engraved expressly for the Magazine; and we understand, that the publisher intends to complete, in the next number, the en[t]erprize, by adding over sixty more, which will embrace the signature of every writer in America, at all known. This will be the most finished collection ever issued.” The Post quotes favorable notices of the current number by the Evening Mail and other papers.

[1841] NOVEMBER. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. The Lady’s Pearl reprints Poe’s “Israfel” from the October Graham’s (Heartman and Canny, pp. 217-18).

[1841] 2 NOVEMBER. WASHINGTON. Dow reviews the November Graham’s in the Index:

Mr. Poe, the talented critic of the Magazine, gives us a new chapter of wonders. He has gathered together a goodly list of autographs of authors, male and female, and served them up with vinegar and sweet sauce to be rolled upon the tongue of memory for no inconsiderable portion of time. Mr. Poe is a wonderful man. He can read the hieroglyphics of the Pharoahs, tell you what you are thinking about while he walks beside you, and criticise you into shape without giving offence. [page 347:]

We trust that he will soon come out with his Penn Magazine, a work which, if carried out as he designs it, will do away with the monopoly of puffing and break the fetters which a corps of pensioned blockheads have bound so long around the brows of young intellects who are too proud to pay a literary pimp for a favorable notice in a mammoth six penny or a good word with the fathers of the Row, who drink wine out of the skulls of authors and grow fat upon the geese that feed upon the grass that waves over their early tomb stones.

[1841] 4 NOVEMBER. PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI. Richard Bolton writes Poe:

The November number of your valuable magazine has just arrived. To my great surprise no notice is taken of my solution of the cryptograph proposed to your readers in the August number. This I can attribute only to accident or oversight. As you had thrown the gauntlet which I took up, I must call upon you as a true man and no craven to render me according to the terms of the defiance the honours of a field worthily contested and fairly won.

A friend lent me for perusal your magazine for that month. On the ninth of September, within a month after the arrival of the magazine my solution was mailed postage paid, addressed to the editor. Accompanying it were certificates of two subscribers, Messrs. Glokenau and L. C. Draper (the latter assistant postmaster) that I had effected the solution unaided by the key and that the September [October] number in which the key was exposed had not arrived.

My solution fully agrees with your published solution except in two words about which I will soon take occasion to remark. I therefore claim to have fully complied with the terms of the challenge and to be entitled to all the rights, privileges and honours therein expressed.

Bolton transcribes his solution, adding extensive notes to indicate how he arrived at it. He identifies two words incorrectly translated in Poe’s solution, as published in the October Graham’s (Thomas [1978], pp. 279-81).

[1841] 6 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. Park Benjamin’s New World reprints Poe’s “Autography” from the November Graham’s.

[1841] 6 NOVEMBER. WASHINGTON. The author and jurist Henry Marie Brackenridge writes Thomas. Brackenridge has written a new biography of his father, the novelist Hugh Henry Brackenridge. He intends to publish it in a well-known periodical “as a precursor” to a new edition of his father’s Modern Chivalry “now about to be put to press.” Some ten days ago he gave the biography to his friend Walter Colton, editor of the Philadelphia North American; he has since decided that Graham’s Magazine would be a more suitable journal for it. Brackenridge asks Thomas to send his letter to Poe, who can then obtain the biography for his consideration: “Mr. Colton on seeing this letter will hand over the MSS. to Mr. E. A. Poe, the editor of the Magazine, unless the publication shall have been announced in the N. American” (MB-G) [page 348:]

[1841] 6 NOVEMBER. Thomas forwards Brackenridge’s letter to Poe, writing on the bottom:

The above will explain itself — The Judge . . . was speaking to me of his father’s biography which he said he had written and which he handed me for perusal — I thought it would be the thing for your work, and advised him to send it to you . . . Write me frankly about it — (get it forthwith)[.] If it does not suit your Magazine, let us know quickly and I will send it to the Southern Literary Messenger.

I have not got my song yet — though I got your letter [of 27 October] and had been wondering for a long time why I had not gotten one from you before. . . .

I write this in great haste . . . . I wish indeed that you had a friend here who had “both brains and funds,” as you say, to embark in the Penn. It will all come right some day. I believe you can make the best Magazine extant; and your friends, if you were embarked in your own boat, would feel much deeper interest, and give more aid to your exclusive work than to any other (MB-G).

[1841] 10 NOVEMBER. Thomas replies to a letter from Poe declining Brackenridge’s manuscript: “Thanks for your punctuality and promptness — I read the Judge what you said (of course leaving out what Graham said about its ‘heaviness’) at which he seemed much pleased.” Since Brackenridge wishes to submit the biography to the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe should return it to him as soon as possible. “I am sorry that your lady likes not the music to which my song is married . . . . Well — I like ‘Virginia’s’ frankness, my dear friend, as I have always liked yours . . . . You, my dear Poe, have a very high reputation here among the literatti [sic], and more than once in ‘dining out’ I have discussed you and made conversational capital out of you” (MB-G).

[1841] 10 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes the popular poetess Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney in Hartford, Connecticut: “Since my connexion, as editor, with ‘Graham’s Magazine’, of this city, I have been sadly disappointed to find that you deem us unworthy your correspondence. . . . Is there no mode of tempting you to send us an occasional contribution? Mr Graham desires me to say that he would be very especially obliged if you could furnish . . . a poem, however brief, for the January number. His compensation . . . will be at least as liberal as that of any publisher in America” (L, 1:186).

[1841] 13 NOVEMBER. GLEN MARY, NEW YORK. Nathaniel P. Willis replies to Poe:

Your letter of the 10th finds me under an engagement to your neighbor Mr Godey to write for no other periodical in Philadelphia during the year 1842. In that year I am to write him an article a month. I see however by his literary [page 349:] notices that he is bon ami with Mr Graham, and with Mr Godey’s “let-up,” I am very happy to promise you the best I can do for your Magazine. My predilections I may say are very much with you — but my quill must eke out my short crops, & Mr. Godey’s very liberal engagement holds me. As he wants only prose however, perhaps he will release me in rhyme.

Would you think it too much trouble to send me the No. of your Maga. containing my own autograph. I hear of it; but have not seen it (TxU-HRCL).

[1841] 13 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. The Saturday Visiter announces that John Beauchamp Jones retired from its editorship on 8 November. The Visiter is now edited by Joseph Evans Snodgrass, who has been “favorably known as one of the editors of the AMERICAN MUSEUM” and “as a contributor to the SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER, and many other leading magazines.”

[1841] 13 NOVEMBER. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. The Literary Souvenir reprints Poe’s “Eleonora” (Heartman and Canny, p. 222).

[1841] 16 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to a 13 November letter from Mrs. Sigourney in Hartford, thanking her for agreeing to contribute to the January Graham’s: “We are forced to go to press at a very early period . . . so that it would be desirable we should have your article in hand by the 1rst December. We shall look for it with much anxiety, as we are using every exertion to prepare a number of more than ordinary attraction. . . . We shall have papers from Longfellow, Benjamin, Willis, Fay, Herbert, Mrs Stephens, Mrs Embury, Dr Reynell Coates, and (what will surprise you) from Sergeant Talfourd, author of ‘Ion’ — besides others of nearly equal celebrity.” Poe and Graham hope that Mrs. Sigourney will consent to become a regular contributor: “Is it not possible that we can make an arrangement with yourself for an article each month? It would give us the greatest pleasure to do so” (L, 1:186-87).

[1841] 18 NOVEMBER. Poe replies to Richard Bolton’s 4 November letter: “I hasten to exonerate myself from . . . the suspicion, no doubt long since entertained by yourself, that I wished to deny you the honors of victory — and a participation in its spoils.” Bolton’s solution of the Frailey cipher is given “an unqualified acknowledgment” in the December Graham’s, which has been ready for ten days. His letter of 9 September arrived too late for his solution to be acknowledged in the November issue: “We print 25000 copies. Of course much time is required to prepare them. Our last ‘form’ necessarily goes to press a full month in advance of the day of issue. It often happens, moreover, that the last form in order is not the last in press. Our first form is usually held back until the last moment on account of the ‘plate article.’ Upon this hint you will easily see the possibility of your [page 350:] letter not having come to hand in season for acknowledgment in the November number.” Poe admits that Bolton’s solution “astonished” him: “I make no question that it even astonished yourself — and well it might — for from among at least 100,000 readers — a great number of whom, to my certain knowledge busied themselves in the investigation — you and I are the only persons who have succeeded” (L, 1:187-89).

[1841] 23 NOVEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe:

I looked in my trunk in hopes of obtaining an autograph of Prentice; but I find I have none by me — I have written to Louisville and wonder I do not hear from there, from him. . . .

Poe, I have commenced the study of the French language, and wish that you would give me some advice as to [the] best manner of pursuing it — Do you consider its acquirement very difficult? . . .

Can I be of any service to the Magazine here? Command me if I can — Have you heard from John P Kennedy since I wrote you — His Whig “Manifesto” I suspect, has “used up” as we say in the West, all the influence he might have had at the White House — Cant you slip on here and see us —

I have not succeeded in being permanently fixed yet in my situation . . . If I had a permanent situation, which I am promised, I could get leave of absence, my salary still continuing, and I could slip on to the City of Brotherly love and shake you by the hand, which I certainly should — I long to have a talk with you, Poe — On my conscience I know no man whom I would rather meet than you — No! I would rather meet you than any “feller” as Sam Weller says that I know (MB-G).

[1841] 26 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Thomas:

You need not put yourself to trouble about Prentice’s autograph, as we have now closed that business. I suppose you have not the December number yet — it has been ready for several weeks. The January no: is nearly prepared — we have an autograph article in each. . . .

Touching your study of the French language. You will, I fear, find it difficult — as, (if I rightly understood you,) you have not received what is called a “classical” education. To the Latin & Greek proficient, the study of all additional languages is mere play — but to the non-proficient it is anything else. The best advice I can give you, under the circumstances, is to busy yourself with the theory or grammar of the language as little as possible & to read side-by-side translations continually, of which there are many to be found. I mean French books in which the literal English version is annexed page per page. Board, also, at a French boarding-house, and force yourself to speak French — bad or good — whether you can or whether you cannot.

I have not heard from Kennedy for a long time, and I think, upon the whole, he has treated me somewhat cavalierly — professing to be a friend.

I would give the world to see you once again and have a little chat. Dow you & I — “when shall we three meet again?” Soon, I hope (L, 1:189-91). [page 351:]

[1841] 26 NOVEMBER. Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, discussing the December installment of “Autography”:

Your autograph, as printed, is indeed but in its slippers. I gave Poe a better one, but he lost it, and then I had none but this. His remarks on your poetry were well meant; but you know Poe prides himself on severity, and, except in rare instances, his commendation is wrung out like an eye-tooth. He did not, however, know that your occassional [sic] ruggedness was the result of choice — besides he has a great fancy for numbers “In linked sweetness long drawn out[.]”

He has one creed: you and I another. I must say however, in justice to Poe, that I have read some of your poems where I would have liked less ruggedness (MH-H).

[1841] BEFORE 27 NOVEMBER. Graham’s for December contains the second installment of “A Chapter on Autography,” as well as Poe’s reviews of the Poetical Remains of the late Lucretia Maria Davidson, The Seaman’s Friend by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., and William Gilmore Simms’s novel Confession. In the fourth and final installment of “Secret Writing,” Poe prints a letter on cryptography he received from W. B. Tyler, a reader who has composed an especially complicated cipher. He acknowledges Bolton’s solution of the Frailey cipher.

The issue contains an announcement that “the graceful pens of two lady-editors,’ Mrs. Emma C. Embury and Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, will be added to the magazine’s “editorial list,” which already includes Graham, Peterson, and Poe.

[The women were never more than nominal editors. See 5 FEBRUARY 1842.]

a page from Autography [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 352]
 
A page from the December “Autography”

[1841] 27 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Snodgrass notices the December Graham’s, criticizing its engravings and poetry:

But the reader must not infer that there is nothing worth valuing, in this number. To the contrary — the sixty-eight autographs, and the multiplicity of information given by Mr. Poe, relating to the whereabouts, employments, and qualities of American writers, will insure a large sale of this issue. They are selling rapidly already. The whole article on autographs, has been interesting, and excels anything of the kind yet attempted. No pen but Mr. P.’s, could probably have afforded so general a sketch of American literary character. We say all this, while having no faith in the notion of character being denoted by the scratchings of an author! The talented collator is carried away with an innocent belief of the science of autography. His own MS., being exceedingly neat and unvaried, refutes his theory — for a more excentric genius cannot be found in a search of half a dozen months. [page 353:]

[1841] 27 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post contains Poe’s tale “A Succession of Sundays,” subsequently entitled “Three Sundays in a Week:”

[1841] 30 NOVEMBER. GLEN MARY, NEW YORK. Willis replies to a second letter from Poe: “You cannot have received my letter written in answer to yours some time since (say a month ago) in which I stated that I was under contract to Mr. Godey to write for no other periodical in Philadelphia than the Lady’s Book, for one year — 1842. I said also that if he were willing, I should be very happy to send you poetry, (he bargaining for prose, ) but that without his consent I could do nothing. . . . I am very sorry to refuse anything to a writer whom I so much admire as yourself, & to a Magazine as good as Graham’s” (W, 17:104; cf. Willis’ 13 November letter).

[1841] DECEMBER? NEW YORK? Thomas Holley Chivers writes Poe, objecting to the notice of him given in “Autography” (Poe’s reply, 6 July 1842).

[In the December installment Poe had described this Georgian as “one of the best and one of the worst poets in America. . . . Even his worst nonsense (and some of it is horrible) has an indefinite charm of sentiment and melody.”]

[1841] 1 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a promissory note for $104, payable “Ninety days after date” to John W. Albright, a tailor, 16 South Third Street (TxU-HRCL).

[1841] 1 DECEMBER. JACKSON, TENNESSEE. John Tomlin writes Poe, discussing a letter he received from Charles Dickens:

I have Mr. Poe in my possession a communication from “Boz”, in its nature so perfectly unique — and in its construction so full of the most beautiful thoughts, that I can scarcely get my own consent for any other to see a sparkle of the rich gems in which it is embedded. He sent it to me as a token of his remembrance — and gratefully did I receive it — and most sacredly have I preserved it.

As he is about visiting this country, I have concluded to suffer some of his own bright thoughts that have never yet seen the light of a garish day, to meet him on its thresh-hold. In permitting other eyes than my own to see it, I have yielded an unwilling consent to duty, and but justice to the Author, which under ordinary circumstances would not have been done. This original communication will be sent to you in time for publication in the February issue of “Graham’s Magazine.” If you see “Boz”, while he is in America, give him my thanks for his notice of his distant countryman (MB-G).

[Dickens’ 23 February 1841 letter to Tomlin was published in the February 1842 Graham’s. When noticing the number in the Saturday Visiter on 5 February, Snodgrass expressed a hope “that Mr. Graham will not obtrude [page 354:] any more such common-place private letters upon his readers, to gratify the vanity of a contributor, who cannot feel that he is as good as Boz.”]

[1841] 12 DECEMBER. Tomlin writes Poe again, enclosing a twenty-line poem headed “To John Tomlin, Esq.” He explains that the poem was sent to him anonymously “a few days since,” accompanied by a request that he should have it published in Graham’s. “You will not Mr. Poe for one moment believe that it was my Vanity that caused the producing of the Eulogy — nor will you believe that your warm-hearted friend, with all of his Southern chivalry, can, or will ever act in derogation of the high name of man” (MB-G).

[1841] BEFORE 18 DECEMBER. BOSTON. Edwin P. Whipple attacks Poe in an unsigned article in the Daily Times:

The last number of Graham’s Gentlemen’s Magazine contains a chapter on autography, by Edgar A. Poe. As all the world, however, is probably aware of this fact, we must beg the pardon of that large portion of it which it is presumed reads the Times, for tacitly taking it for granted that they are ignorant of so important an intellectual phenomenon. In this “chapter” fac-similes of the autographs of many great and small American authors are given, and an attempt is made to trace a connection between their mental character and the character of the chirography — damnation being dealt out liberally to all whose penmanship displays no genius, and praise awarded to those whose hand-writing pleases the said Mr. Poe. . . .

In the article . . . there are manifested many qualities of disposition which reflect little credit upon the author . . . . We refer to the dogmatism, egotism, and other isms equally as offensive, from which a good portion of the production appears to spring. It is certainly a collossal [sic] piece of impertinence for Mr. Edgar A. Poe to exalt himself into a literary dictator, and under his own name deal out his opinions on American authors as authoritative. . . . He does not appear to form his opinions on enlarged principles of taste, but judges of an author by the manner his own particular feelings are affected. . . . We would as soon go to a New Zealander for correct views of Christianity as to Mr. Poe for correct criticism on certain authors. . . .

But the sins of commission in the article are nearly overbalanced by the sins of omission. We are favored with the autographs of men of inferior talent and reputation, while we look in vain for some of the most prominent of American authors. . . .

The Germans would call a profound and comprehensive critic many-sided, but Mr. Poe is decidedly one-sided. . . . One peculiarity of his article is, that the contributors to Graham’s Magazine, from the proprietor downwards, or from the proprietor upwards, are praised with singular benevolence. As long as Mr. Poe is allowed to retain his position as censor general of American authors, it is well to know that the path to immortality lies through Graham’s Magazine (Gerber, pp. 111-13). [page 355:]

[1841] 18 DECEMBER. Whipple’s attack is reprinted in the Boston Notion, a weekly issued from the same office as the Daily Times, both papers being published by George Roberts.

[1841] 20 DECEMBER. Whipple writes Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia: “I perceive that Poe did you justice in the Chapter on Autography, published in Graham’s Magazine, although he was unjust to others. If you see the Notion, you will perceive a rather savage article on his impertinence. You are no particular friend of his, I believe, and therefore it can hardly shock you. How he cuts up [Henry T.] Tuckerman! That set my pen in motion. He does not mention Sprague, Holmes, Sargent, and many other ‘good poets and true,’ but finds space for Johnny M’Jilton, Dr. Snodgrass, Pliny Earle, and other lights of the age” (Gerber, pp. 110-11).

[1841] 25 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reviews the first number of the Lady’s World of Fashion, a saccharine monthly begun by Charles J. Peterson.

[1841] LATE DECEMBER. In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle defends Poe against Whipple’s unsigned attack in the Boston Daily Times (see 10 JANUARY 1842).

[1841] 1841. LONDON. John Cunningham, Crown-Court, Fleet-Street, reprints Poe’s novel, altering its title to Arthur Gordon Pym: Or, Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Famine (Pollin [1981], pp. 3, 43-44).

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 06 [Part 01])