Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 06 [Part 02],” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 355-390


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[page 355, continued:]

[1842] EARLY 1842? PHILADELPHIA. Poe becomes acquainted with the young Kentucky poet William Ross Wallace, who is a frequent visitor at the offices of Graham’s Magazine, southwest corner of Chestnut and Third Streets (Poe in the Columbia Spy, 1 June 1844).

[1842] EARLY 1842? Poe becomes acquainted with the young journalist and satirist George Lippard, recently employed on Du Solle’s daily paper, the Spirit of the Times, whose offices at the northwest corner of Chestnut and Third are directly across from those of Graham’s (Thomas [1978], pp. 325, 835-38). [page 356:]

[1842] JANUARY. Graham’s contains “An Appendix of Autographs,” which concludes the “Autography” series with nineteen additional signatures, as well as Poe’s reviews of Henry Cockton’s novel Stanley Thorn, Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, the Critical and Miscellaneous Essays of “Christopher North” (John Wilson), and Mrs. Sigourney’s Pocahontas, and Other Poems. The review section is prefaced by a cogent “Exordium,” in which Poe defines his concept of literary criticism.

[1842] JANUARY. NEW ORLEANS. Daniel K. Whitaker’s Southern Quarterly Review discusses the American magazines, recalling the early days of the Southern Literary Messenger: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., a gentleman of brilliant but eccentric powers, and the author of some works of fiction, composed in a very original vein of thought, was for a short time its editor, and it throve under his auspices.”

[1842] 1 JANUARY. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Snodgrass finds that the January Graham’s represents a significant improvement over the December number: “We enjoyed a rich treat reading the poetry of Talfourd, Longfellow, ‘Amelia’ [Welby] and others, the other night — and we made a hearty supper with Poe’s devil-may-care criticisms.”

[1842] 1 JANUARY. NEW YORK. The New-York Mirror reports: “The November and December numbers of ‘Graham’s Magazine’ contain engraved facsimiles of the signatures of the most distinguished American authors, with very sprightly comments by Mr. E. A. Poe; and we understand they have excited a great deal of interest. The collecting of autographs has been a great rage among people of fashion for some years past in England . . . . The fondness for these trifles seems to be extending to this country.”

[1842] 10 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the Spirit of the Times Du Solle replies to the Boston Daily Times:

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

“Mr. Du Solle is well known through his connection with the ‘Spirit of the Times.’ His prose is forcible and often excellent in other respects. As [page 357:] a poet he is entitled to higher consideration. Some of his Pindaric pieces are unusually good, and it may be doubted if we have a better versifier in America.”

And these few words of commendation, (which assuredly do not amount to much, and would seem insufficient to drive any man mad through vanity,) have been regarded as our motive in this matter. — But, we may well ask — is it permitted to no one of the numerous individuals who happen to have been favorably noticed in these articles, to rebut the malignant and ignorant slanders of the “Times,” lest, peradventure, that print should accuse him of interested motive? . . .

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

[1842] 10 JANUARY PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI. Richard Bolton replies to Poe’s “very complimentary letter” of 18 November:

As to the process by which I effected the solution of Dr. Frailey’s cypher it is useless to repeat all my abortive efforts and guesses. Suffice it to say that from a comparison of various words reduced to syllables I ascertained the vowels and particularly e from its frequent use and u from its unfrequent [sic] occurrence. I and a from their being used per se. If representing “ed” a common terminal syllable in long words next became known. Having advanced thus far the cipher fi-fvti and nia-fvti representing reduce and produce gave me a thread to the labyrinth after which my progress was comparatively easy. . . . The grammatical sequence of long and short words incident to language was of much assistance to me. Candour compels me to add that had the letters been continuous and not divided into words I should probably have failed. I therefore pay homage to you as King of Secret Readers (Thomas [1978], pp. 309-10).

[1842] 13 JANUARY. WASHINGTON. Frederick William Thomas writes Poe:

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

I have felt the truth of your advice about the study of the french [sic] — My teacher thinks that I can easily acquire the pronunciation, but I fear fear [sic] it will tax my industry fearfully to master the language gram[m]atically. — I believe [page 358:] that if I were thrown among the French that I could learn it orally, much sooner than one who by book would beat me by all odds. —

January 14,

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

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

[1842] CA. 20 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe’s wife Virginia begins to cough up blood while singing. She is seriously ill (Poe to Thomas, 3 February).

[The pulmonary hemorrhaging marked the onset of tuberculosis or “consumption,” the then incurable disease which eventually claimed Virginia’s life five years later, on 30 January 1847. A neighbor of the Poe family left this reminiscence in 1852:

Mrs. Poe, while singing one evening, ruptured a blood-vessel, and after that she suffered a hundred deaths. She could not bear the slightest exposure, and needed the utmost care; and all those conveniences as to apartment and surroundings which are so important in the care of an invalid were almost [a] matter of life and death to her. And yet the room where she lay for weeks, hardly able to breathe except as she was fanned, was a little place with the ceiling so low over the narrow bed that her head almost touched it. But no one dared to speak — Mr. Poe was so sensitive and irritable; “quick as steel and flint,” said one who knew him in those days. And he would not allow a word about the danger of her dying — the mention of it drove him wild (Harris, p. 24).

The hemorrhages were recurrent and progressive. In his 4 January 1848 letter to George W. Eveleth, Poe stated that Virginia’s prolonged illness, with its “horrible never-ending oscillation between hope & despair,” led him to seek solace in excessive drinking.]

[1842] 22 JANUARY. BOSTON. Charles Dickens arrives for a tour of the United States.

[The best-known author in the English-speaking world was accorded a tumultuous welcome in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and other cities. For the reactions of the Philadelphia literati to his visit, see Thomas (1978), pp. 308, 318-52.]

[1842] FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s contains Poe’s “Harper’s Ferry” (an unsigned sketch accompanying the frontispiece) and his signed essay “A Few Words About Brainard,” in which he examines an overrated American [page 359:] poet from the preceding generation, John G. C. Brainard. Poe contributes long reviews of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge and Cornelius Mathews’ Wakondah. Giving a detailed synopsis of Dickens’ novel, he recalls that he correctly predicted its denouement in the Saturday Evening Post of 1 May 1841, after having read only its first few pages. He condemns Mathews’ epic poem as “trash”: “its faults, more numerous than the leaves of Vallombrosa, are of that rampant class which, if any schoolboy could be found so uninformed as to commit them, any schoolboy should be remorselessly flogged for committing.”

[1842] 3 FEBRUARY. Poe replies to Thomas’ 13 January letter: “I am sure you will pardon me for my seeming neglect in not replying to your last when you learn what has been the cause of the delay. My dear little wife has been dangerously ill. About a fortnight since, in singing, she ruptured a blood-vessel, and it was only on yesterday that the physicians gave me any hope of her recovery. You might imagine the agony I have suffered, for you know how devotedly I love her.” Poe’s relationship with Graham has begun to deteriorate: “On the morning subsequent to the accident I called upon him, and, being entirely out of his debt, asked an advance of two months salary — when he not only flatly but discourteously refused. Now that man knows that I have rendered him the most important services . . . . If, instead of a paltry salary, Graham had given me a tenth of his Magazine, I should feel myself a rich man to-day.” Although the “Autography” articles have “had a great run” and “done wonders for the Journal,” Poe fears that they have harmed his reputation as a critic: “I was weak enough to permit Graham to modify my opinions (or at least their expression) in many of the notices. In the case of Conrad, for example; he insisted upon praise and worried me into speaking well of such ninnies as Holden, Peterson, Spear, &c., &c.” Still intending to begin his own magazine, Poe inquires whether President Tyler’s eldest son would aid the project: “You are personally acquainted with Robert Tyler, author of ‘Ahasuerus.’ In this poem there are many evidences of power, and, what is better, of nobility of thought & feeling. In reading it, an idea struck me — ‘Might it not, I thought, ‘be possible that he would, or rather might be induced to feel some interest in my contemplated scheme . . . ?’ The Magazine might be made to play even an important part in the politics of the day, like Blackwood; and in this view might be worthy his consideration. Could you contrive to suggest the matter to him?” (L, 1:191-93).

[1842] 5 FEBRUARY. BALTIMORE. Snodgrass reviews the February Graham’s in the Saturday Visiter:

Graham announces too many editors — if they be really editors! We find the names of Mrs. A. S. Stevens [sic], Mrs. Embury, Mr. Peterson, besides Messrs. Poe [page 360:] and Graham. So many cooks will spoil his broth for him. In the way of the critical dishes, we want no French or fashionable cooks. Poe is sufficient. He may give homely fare, but it will be honestly served. We are glad to find that, owning to the aforenamed arrangement, or some other cause, Mr. Poe has given real reviews this month. All the better. Give him room. He will do much good. We want just such fearless fellows.

[1842] 8 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, praising his contribution in the February Graham’s: “Rosaline is a fine poem. Poe, Griswold, all of us say so. In the March no. in a review of Longfellow, Poe, after doing justice to you, says of Rosaline ‘that no American poem equals it in the higher elements of song.’ . . . Poe wishes to be remembered to you” (MH-H).

[1842] 17 FEBRUARY. Peterson replies to a letter from Lowell in Boston:

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

[1842] 26 FEBRUARY. WASHINGTON. Thomas replies to Poe’s 3 February letter, explaining that he “delayed writing so long” in the hope that he could offer suggestions about the magazine project: “Mr. Robert Tyler would assist you with his pen all he could, but I suppose he could not assist you in any other way, unless government patronage in the way of printing blanks &c could be given to you. Anything that I could do for you you know will be done. Robert Tyler expressed himself highly gratified with your favorable opinion of his poem which I mentioned to him. He observed that he valued your opinion more than any other critic’s in the country — to which I subscribed.” Thomas agrees that in “Autography” Poe lowered his standards: “I must confess that I was more than surprised at the eulogistic notices which you took of certain writers — but I attributed it to a monomania partiality. I am glad to see that you still retain the unbiassed possession of your mental faculties. But, Poe, for the sake of that high independence of character which you possess you should not have let Graham influence you into such notices. There, that in complete imitation of your frankness.” Thomas deeply regrets Virginia’s illness: “Though I have no wife, yet I have sisters, and have experienced the tenderness of woman’s nature. I can therefore, in part, sympathise with you” (W, 17:105-06; L, 2:591). [page 361:]

[1842] 28 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe signs a receipt: “Received of Mr G. R. Graham Fifty eights [sic] Dollars, in full for salary as Editor, up to this date” (TxU-HRCL).

[1842] MARCH. Graham’s contains Poe’s revised poem “To One Departed;” formerly entitled “To Mary,” as well as his preliminary notice of Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems and his reviews of Harry Lorrequer’s novel Charles O’Malley, Roswell Park’s Pantology, and The Critical and Miscellaneous Writings of Henry Lord Brougham.

Charles Dickens [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 361, bottom]
 
Charles Dickens

[1842] 5 MARCH. The Saturday Evening Post notices the March Graham’s: “The publisher now issues over forty thousand copies monthly, which is the strongest evidence of merit, — and he purposes opening the new volume in July next with fifty thousand copies, which will be made the regular and standing edition, being as many as any steel line engraving will yield impressions.”

[1842] 5 MARCH. In the evening Charles Dickens arrives in Philadelphia, taking lodgings at the United States Hotel, Chestnut Street above Fourth (Dickens, 3:100).

[1842] 6 MARCH OR BEFORE. Poe writes Dickens, requesting an interview. With [page 362:] the letter he sends his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque as well as his two reviews of Barnaby Rudge, in the Saturday Evening Post of 1 May 1841 and Graham’s for February 1842 (Dickens’ reply).

[1842] 6 MARCH. Dickens writes Poe:

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

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

Apropos of the “construction” of Caleb Williams. Do you know that Godwin wrote it backwards — the last Volume first — and that when he had produced the hunting-down of Caleb, and the Catastrophe, he waited for months, casting about for a means of accounting for what he had done? (Dickens, 3:106-07).

[In the Graham’s review of Barnaby Rudge, Poe had compared the novelist and philosopher William Godwin with Dickens: “ ‘Caleb Williams’ is a far less noble work than ‘The Old Curiosity-Shop;’ but Mr. Dickens could no more have constructed the one than Mr. Godwin could have dreamed of the other.”]

[1842] 7? MARCH. Poe has “two long interviews” with Dickens, presumably at the United States Hotel. They discuss the state of American poetry; Poe reads Emerson’s poem “To the Humble Bee.” Dickens promises to seek an English publisher for the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. Apparently, Poe brings an invitation from George R. Graham; Dickens agrees to write for Graham’s, if he contributes to any American magazine (Poe to Lowell, 2 July 1844; see also Moss [1978], pp. 10-12, and Thomas [1978], pp. 341-44).

[1842] 9 MARCH. In the morning Dickens leaves Philadelphia for Washington (Public Ledger, 10 March).

[1842] 13 MARCH. Poe writes Thomas in Washington, inquiring whether his friend had an opportunity to meet Dickens there (Thomas’ 21 May reply).

[1842] 13 MARCH. Poe replies to a 14 February letter from the Baltimore author John N. McJilton, who submitted to Graham’s Esther Wetherald’s translation of a tale in French: “My silence, for so long an interval, will have assured you that the article is accepted with pleasure. Mr Graham, however, desires me to say that it will be out of his power to pay more than 2$ per printed page for translations. Should these terms meet the views of Miss Wetherald, we should be glad to receive from her, each month, an [page 363:] article similar to the one sent, and not exceeding three or four pages in length.” Poe wonders why he does not occasionally hear from McJilton, as in “the olden time” (L, 1:194).

[1842] 31 MARCH. Poe signs a receipt: “Received of Mr G. R. Graham Fifty eight dollars in full for salary, up to this date” (TxU-HRCL).

[1842] APRIL. Graham’s contains Poe’s tale “Life in Death,” subsequently entitled “The Oval Portrait,” as well as his detailed criticism of Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems, his reviews of Ideals and Other Poems by “Algernon” and of Patrick S. Casserly’s Translation of Jacob’s Greek Reader, and his preliminary notice of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales.

[1842] 1 APRIL. Charles J. Peterson writes Lowell in Boston, urging him to read Poe’s article on Longfellow in the April Graham’s: “It is, in my opinion, the most masterly critique, as a whole, I ever saw from an American pen” (MH-H).

[1842] CA. 1 APRIL. Poe resigns from the staff of Graham’s (Poe to Thomas, 29 May, and to Daniel Bryan, 6 July).

[1842] 2 APRIL. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Snodgrass observes that the April Graham’s reveals “a decided improvement” over previous numbers: “We allude to the insertion of reviews. We speak of this class of writings, as distinct from mere critical notices. We think they add greatly to the value of the work, — being useful, at the same time, in no slight degree. We are, furthermore, very sure the editor, Mr. Poe, is gratified by the change he has been permitted to make in this respect. He is fond of reviewing, and, though, at times, provokingly hypercritical, is an excellent reviewer.”

[1842] 18 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. The publishers Carey & Hart write Rufus W. Griswold in New York: “We have at last published the ‘Poets & Poetry of America’ & a handsome Book it is” (MB-G).

[The anthology contained Poe’s “The Coliseum,” “The Haunted Palace,” and “The Sleeper.” The three poems were preceded by a brief and somewhat inaccurate biographical sketch.]

[1842] 19 APRIL. Graham writes Griswold in New York, offering him the position vacated by Poe:

Have you fully determined on assuming the Chaplaincy and to abandon the editorial chair? Or could you find it in your heart to locate in Philadelphia? Let me hear from you, as I have a proposal to make. [page 364:]

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

[1842] 23 APRIL. Graham’s Saturday Evening Post reviews The Poets and Poetry of America:

This is the most valuable publication of the season. No collection of American Poetry has ever been made, at all comparable to this, whether we regard the completeness of the work, or the taste displayed in the selections. Few men in the country were so well qualified for the task of editor as the Rev. Mr. Griswold . . . .

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

[1842] BEFORE 30 APRIL. Graham’s for May contains Poe’s tale “The Mask of the Red Death,” as well as his long criticism of Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales and his briefer reviews of Charles Fenno Hoffman’s The Vigil of Faith, and Other Poems and William Gilmore Simms’s novel Beauchampe.

[1842] 30 APRIL. The Saturday Evening Post notices the May Graham’s: “It is doubtful, if engravings of equal beauty ever adorned an American work, — and as the publisher expended over two thousand dollars on the engravings of the May number alone, some idea may be formed of their excellency, and of the patronage of a work that can amply afford it.”

[1842] 30 APRIL. BALTIMORE. In the Saturday Visiter Snodgrass reprints “The Mask of the Red Death” from Graham’s. He finds that Poe’s tale “exhibits his love of the mysterious and his artistical ability — tho’ not so much as his stories generally.”

[1842] MAY. NEW YORK. Arcturus, edited by Cornelius Mathews and Evert A. Duyckinck, contains an unsigned essay on “Criticism in America”:

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

[1842] MAY. COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE. In the Guardian John Tomlin favorably reviews Lambert A. Wilmer’s satire on American poets, The Quacks of Helicon. [page 365:] Observing that the nation’s poetry is inferior to that produced by Europeans, Tomlin points out that in fiction Americans “can now compete, and successfully too, with the Bulwers of England, and De Kocks of France. J. Fenimore Cooper is Bulwer’s equal — and Edgar A. Poe in ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ has exhibited powers of mind, equal to any living writer.”

[1842] 3 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham replies to a letter from Griswold in New York, who has accepted the editorial position on Graham’s left vacant by Poe’s departure: “I am glad that you agree to our proposal, and we shall be ready to give you the ‘right hand of fellowship,’ as soon as ‘orders are taken.’ Mr. P[eterson] is right. The salary to be $1,000 per annum” (MB-G).

[1842] 13 MAY. ALEXANDRIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. Daniel Bryan writes Poe, forwarding his “Crowning of the May Queen” and other poems for possible publication in Graham’s: “Although I have not the happiness to be personally acquainted with you, yet my intimate acquaintance with your lamented Brother [Henry Poe], the occasional correspondence which has taken place between us, and the favourable sentiments which you have expressed towards my poetical pretensions, embolden me to regard you in a very different light from that of a stranger. — Hence I write to you with freedom and frankness, and I desire you to deal with me in the same spirit. — If you believe my verses to be unsuitable to your Journal, I beg you to return them to me” (MB-G).

[1842] 14 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Saturday Evening Post carries an announcement: “Mr. R. W. Griswold, a gentleman of acknowledged taste and ability, has become associated with us, as one of the Editors of the Saturday Evening Post and Graham’s Magazine.”

[1842] 18 MAY. The Public Ledger reports: “E. A. Poe, Esq, has retired from the editorship of Graham’s Magazine, and has been succeeded by Rev. R. W. Griswold.”

[1842] 21 MAY. WASHINGTON. In the Index Jesse E. Dow comments: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has resigned the charge of Graham’s Magazine. We regret this exceedingly. We trust the Penn Magazine will now be started by Mr. Poe.”

[1842] 21 MAY. Thomas replies to Poe’s 13 March letter. Although Robert Tyler, the President’s son, could not provide any financial assistance to Poe’s proposed magazine, he may be able to assist the project indirectly:

Last night I was speaking of you [to Robert Tyler], and took occasion to [page 366:] suggest that a situation in the Custom House, Philadelphia, might be acceptable to you, as Lamb (Charles) had held a somewhat similar appointment, etc., and as it would leave you leisure to pursue your literary pursuits. Robert replied that he felt confident that such a situation could be obtained for you in the course of two or three months at farthest, as certain vacancies would then occur.

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

Thomas answers Poe’s question: “Yes, I saw Dickens, but only at the dinner which a few of us gave him here — I liked him very much though.” Thomas inquires whether there is any truth in the report that Poe has “parted company” with Graham (W, 17:108-10).

[At the beginning of his administration President Tyler opposed the then prevalent “spoils system,” whereby the party victorious in an election rewarded its followers with government appointments; but by early 1842, after his break with the Whigs, he himself adopted this policy to build a political base for his candidacy in the 1844 Presidential election. The installation of Tyler supporters in the Philadelphia Custom House had been temporarily thwarted by the Collector of Customs, Jonathan Roberts, a loyal Whig who refused to remove the incumbents. The vacancies Thomas mentioned to Poe were not to occur for “two or three months” because President Tyler was waiting until the adjournment of the Whig-dominated Congress before replacing Roberts with a new Collector who would make the changes. Poe probably knew of the situation before Thomas wrote him, since it was fully described in the Philadelphia newspapers. See Thomas (1978), pp. 366-67, 371, 373-75, 388-89.]

[1842] 25 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Thomas: “What you say respecting a situation in the Custom House here gives me new life. Nothing could more precisely meet my views. Could I obtain such an appointment, I would be enabled thoroughly to carry out all my ambitious projects. It would relieve me of all care as regards a mere subsistence, and thus allow me time for thought, which, in fact, is action. . . . If the salary will barely enable me to live I shall be content. Will you say as much for me to Mr [Robert] Tyler, and express to him my sincere gratitude for the interest he takes in my welfare?” Poe answers Thomas’ question:

The report of my having parted company with Graham, is correct; although, in the forthcoming June number, there is no announcement to that effect; nor had the papers any authority for the statement made. My duties ceased with the May number. I shall continue to contribute occasionally. Griswold succeeds me. My reason for resigning was disgust with the namby-pamby character of the Magazine — a character which it was impossible to eradicate — I allude to the [page 367:] contemptible pictures, fashion-plates, music and love tales. The salary, moreover, did not pay me for the labor which I was forced to bestow. With Graham who is really a very gentlemanly, although an exceedingly weak man, I had no misunderstanding.

The Poe family has moved from “the old place”; if Thomas should visit Philadelphia, he can find their new address by inquiring at the office of Graham’s (L, 1:197-99; Moldenhauer [1973], p. 54).

[1842] 25 MAY. Poe signs a promissory note for $32.85, payable to Swain, Abell, and Simmons, publishers of the Public Ledger, “for value received” (Phillips, 1:742; Ostrom [1981], p. 206).

A fashion plate from Graham's Magazine [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 367, bottom]
 
A fashion plate from Graham’s

[1842] 31 MAY. Charles J. Peterson writes James Russell Lowell in Boston: “I suppose you know Poe has left us. He’s a splendid fellow, but ‘unstable as water.’ In his place we have taken Griswold, who is an indefatigable fellow & knows more about the literary men of this country than they do themselves” (MH-H).

[1842] JUNE. Graham’s contains Peterson’s favorable review of Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, which stresses that Lowell should have been accorded “a [page 368:] more liberal notice” (attribution implied by Peterson to Lowell, 25 April, MH — H).

[Harrison mistakenly reprinted this review and that of Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Zanoni as Poe’s (W, 11:115-26). See also Poe to Snodgrass, 4 June.]

[1842] JUNE? ALBANY, NEW YORK. The Poet’s Magazine reviews Griswold’s anthology, criticizing the “undue prominence” given to various poetasters: “We have neither time or space to specify, but who ever thought before Mr. Griswold informed them of the fact, that Edgar A. Poe was entitled to a place among the Poets of America? Who ever dreamed that the cynical critic, the hunter up of small things, journeyman editor of periodicals, and Apollo’s man of all work, was a favourite of the Muses, or wrote Poetry? It is certainly a ‘grotesque’ discovery, and, we conjecture, had not Mr. P. taken particular pains to impress the fact upon Mr. Griswold’s mind, the world would have remained in happy ignorance of his (Mr. P’s) poetical abilities” (Mabbott [1949], pp. 122-23).

[1842] EARLY JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to a letter from the civil engineer and inventor James Herron, a Virginian now living in Washington:

You have learned, perhaps, that I have retired from “Graham’s Magazine”. The state of my mind has, in fact, forced me to abandon for the present, all mental exertion. The renewed and hopeless illness of my wife, ill health on my own part, and pecuniary embarrassments, have nearly driven me to distraction. My only hope of relief is the “Bankrupt Act”, of which I shall avail myself as soon as possible. . . .

You will be pleased to hear that I have the promise of a situation in our Custom-House. The offer was entirely unexpected & gratuitous. I am to receive the appointment upon removal of several incumbents — the removal to be certainly made in a month. I am indebted to the personal friendship of Robert Tyler. If I really receive the appointment all may yet go well. . . .

Mrs Poe is again dangerously ill with hemorrhage from the lungs (L, 1:198-99).

[1842] 4 JUNE. NEW YORK. In the New World Park Benjamin comments: “EDGAR A. POE — We regard this gentleman as one of the best writers of the English language now living. His style is singularly pure and idiomatic. He never condescends to affectations, but writes with a nervous clearness, that inspires the reader with a perpetual confidence in his powers. Mr. Poe has left Mr. Graham’s Magazine; but in whatever sphere he moves, he will surely be distinguished.”

[1842] 4 JUNE. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. The Literary Souvenir reprints Poe’s “The Mask of the Red Death” from the May Graham’s (Heartman and Canny, p. 222). [page 369:]

[1842] 4 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes George Roberts, publisher of the Boston Notion, describing a long tale he has just completed, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt — a Sequel to the Murders in the Rue Morgue”:

The story is based upon the assassination of Mary Cecilia Rogers, which created so vast an excitement, some months ago, in New-York. I have, however, handled my design in a manner altogether novel in literature. I have imagined a series of nearly exact coincidences occurring in Paris. A young grisette, one Marie Rogêt, has been murdered under precisely similar circumstances with Mary Rogers. Thus, under pretence of showing how Dupin (the hero of “The Rue Morgue[”)] unravelled the mystery of Marie’s assassination, I, in reality, enter into a very long and rigorous analysis of the New-York tragedy. No point is omitted. I examine, each by each, the opinions and arguments of the press upon the subject, and show that this subject has been, hitherto, unapproached. In fact, I believe not only that I have demonstrated the fallacy of the general idea — that the girl was the victim of a gang of ruffians — but have indicated the assassin in a manner which will give renewed impetus to investigation.

Because of “the nature of the subject,” the tale will “excite attention.” It would occupy twenty-five pages of Graham’s, and “at the usual price” it would be worth $100 to Poe: “For reasons, however, which I need not specify, I am desirous of having this tale printed in Boston, and, if you like it, I will say $50. Will you please write me upon this point? — by return of mail, if possible” (L, 1:199-200).

[1842] 4 JUNE. Poe writes Joseph Evans Snodgrass in Baltimore, offering him “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” for the Saturday Visiter: “Of course I could not afford to make you an absolute present of it — but if you are willing to take it, I will say $40.” Poe is glad that Snodgrass has become the sole proprietor of the Visiter: “I have to thank your partiality for many flattering notices of myself. How is it, nevertheless, that a Magazine of the highest class has never yet succeeded in Baltimore? I have often thought, of late, how much better it would have been had you joined me in a Magazine project in the Monumental City, rather than engage with the ‘Visiter’ — a journal which has never yet been able to recover from the mauvais odeur imparted to it by [John Hill] Hewitt. . . . Have you seen Griswold’s Book of Poetry? It is a most outrageous humbug, and I sincerely wish you would ‘use it up’.” Poe composes a notice of his withdrawal from Graham’s, which he asks Snodgrass to publish in the Visiter:

We have it from undoubted authority that Mr Poe has retired from the editorship of ‘Graham’s Magazine’, and that his withdrawal took place with the May number, notwithstanding the omission of all announcement to this effect in the number for June. We observe that the “Boston Post”, in finding just fault with an exceedingly ignorant and flippant review of “Zanoni” which appears in the June number, has spoken of it as from the pen of Mr Poe[.] We will take it upon ourselves to say that Mr P. neither did write the article, nor could have written any such [page 370:] absurdity. . . . The article appears to be the handiwork of some underling who has become imbued with th[e] fancy of aping Mr Poe’s peculiarities of diction. . . . Not to announce Mr P’s withdrawal in the June number, was an act of the rankest injustice; and as such we denounce it (L, 1:201-03).

[1842] BEFORE 7 JUNE. Poe writes Charles Dickens at New York, reminding him of a “mission . . . already entrusted . . . by word of mouth” (Dickens to Poe, 27 November).

[Dickens left for England on 7 June; the “mission” he accepted was to find a London publisher for a collection of Poe’s tales.]

[1842] 11 JUNE. MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUT. Thomas Holley Chivers writes Poe, enclosing his “Invocation to Spring” and several other poems for possible publication in Graham’s (Poe’s reply, 6 July).

[1842] 17 JUNE. WASHINGTON. The Independent publishes a letter from “FLASH,” a correspondent in Philadelphia who denies that “genius” was required to produce The Poets and Poetry of America: “I am willing to admit that Mr. Griswold has shown a proper discrimination in his selections, and that his biographical notices are satisfactory — that the binder and printer have done their duty; but beyond this, I do not see that Mr. Griswold has much to boast of. Mr. Griswold is a lively and elegant writer of prose and poetry, and a very fair and impartial critic, though the sponsor, as editor of Graham’s Magazine, of the malignant, unjust, and disgraceful attacks on the literary character of its former editor, Mr. Poe.”

[1842] 23 JUNE. In the Index Dow comments on the change in the editorial staff of Graham’s: “We would give more for Edgar A. Poe’s toe nail, than we would for Rueful Grizzle’s soul, unless we wanted a milk-strainer. Them’s our sentiments.”

[1842] BEFORE 24 JUNE? PHILADELPHIA. Poe prepares the title page and a table of contents for a new edition of his stories, Phantasy-Pieces. The three-volume collection is to contain the twenty-five stories in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, as well as the thirteen he has since written (facsimiles in Quinn, pp. 338-39, and Mabbott [1978], 2:474 ff.).

[The collection never appeared. On the title page Poe subsequently changed the projected volumes from “Three” to “Two”; from the table of contents he crossed out his two latest tales, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt;” both of which were still unpublished.]

[1842] CA. 24 JUNE. NEW YORK. Poe visits New York in an unsuccessful attempt to secure employment and to find a publisher for Phantasy-Pieces. He [page 371:] begins drinking while in the company of the young poet William Ross Wallace, who insists on mint juleps. In an intoxicated state he visits J. and H. G. Langley, publishers of the Democratic Review, and Robert Hamilton, editor of William W. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion (Poe’s statement to Thomas on 17 September; Poe to the Langleys, 18 July, and to Hamilton, 3 October).

[1842] 24 JUNE. Poe scribbles a curt letter to Thomas in Washington:

New York June 24.

My dear Thomas,

If there [i]s anything in the world to be done for my friend W. Wallace with Rob. Tyler do it, and charge it to my account. Use your influence to its ultimate extent. No better man ever lived. Write me by return of mail. Why have I not heard from you lately?

Truly yours    

Edgar A Poe.

Wallace has informed me that he has made application for a Consulship.

[This letter has not been previously published; the badly faded manuscript was purchased by the Philadelphia Free Library in 1976 (PP-G). See also Poe to Thomas, 27 August 1842.]

[1842] 25 JUNE. Poe’s letter is postmarked.

[1842] AFTER 25 JUNE? JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY. Mary Starr, now Mrs. Jenning, receives a visit from Poe:

He came to New York, and went to my husband’s place of business to find out where we lived. He was on a spree, however, and forgot the address before he got across the river. He made several trips backward and forward on the ferryboat. . . .

When Mr. Poe reached our house I was out with my sister, and he opened the door for us when we got back. We saw he was on one of his sprees, and he had been away from home for several days. . . .

Mr. Poe staid to tea with us, but ate nothing; only drank a cup of tea. . . . He then went away. A few days afterward Mrs. Clemm came to see me, much worried about “Eddie dear,” as she always addressed him. She did not know where he was, and his wife was almost crazy with anxiety. I told Mrs. Clemm that he had been to see me. A search was made, and he was finally found in the woods on the outskirts of Jersey City, wandering about like a crazy man. Mrs. Clemm took him back with her to Philadelphia (Mary’s reminiscence, possibly exaggerated, quoted by Van Cleef, p. 639).

[1842] 27 JUNE. ALEXANDRIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. Daniel Bryan writes Poe: [page 372:]

“As your connexion with Graham’s Mag. has ceased, you may feel some difficulty about the disposal of the verses which I some weeks ago [on 13 May] enclosed to you. They were transmitted for that work under an impression, — and because I believed, — that you were still one of its editors. But now that you have withdrawn from it, I prefer having the verses returned to me, or retained by you, — if you deem them worthy of preservation, — for your future use” (MB-G).

[1842] 30 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes James Herron in Washington:

Upon return from a brief visit to New-York, last night, I found here your kind letter from Washington, enclosing a check for $20, and giving me new life in every way. I am more deeply indebted to you than I can express, and in this I really mean what I say. Without your prompt and unexpected interposition with Mr [Robert] Tyler, it is by no means improbable that I should have failed in obtaining the appointment which has become so vitally necessary to me; but now I feel assured of success. . . .

My wife’s health has slightly improved and my spirits have risen in proportion; but I am still very unwell — so much so that I shall be forced to give up and go to bed (L, 1:204).

[1842] JULY. Graham’s contains an announcement on its last page:

RUFUS WILMOT GRISWOLD, a gentleman of fine taste and well known literary abilities, has become associated with us as one of the editors of this Magazine. The extensive literary knowledge of Mr. G. renders him a most valuable coadjutor.

The connection of E. A. POE, Esq., with this work ceased with the May Number. Mr. P. bears with him our warmest wishes for success in whatever he may undertake.

The outside back cover carries this notice: “The circulation of this Magazine has increased over Seventeen Thousand during the last six months, and the publisher issues, of the July number, and will continue to issue, until the close of the present volume, OVER FIFTY THOUSAND COPIES! — a circulation never attained before by any European or American periodical — the best evidence that can be offered of merit.”

[1842] JULY. Griswold commissions Poe to prepare a review of The Poets and Poetry of America, promising to pay him his “usual” fee for the criticism, and to arrange for its publication “in some reputable work” (Poe to Thomas, 12 September; cf. Griswold to J. T. Fields, 12 August and 7 September).

[1842] 6 JULY. WASHINGTON. The Index carries a valedictory by Poe’s friend Jesse E. Dow, who is resigning the editorship because of ill health.

[1842] 6 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Daniel Bryan’s 27 June letter. He [page 373:] has not received the “verses” Bryan sent him on 13 May: “My connexion with ‘Graham’s Magazine’ ceased with the May number, which was completed by the 1rst of April . . . Can it be possible that the present editors have thought it proper to open letters addressed to myself, because addressed to myself as ‘Editor of Graham’s Magazine’? I know not how to escape from this conclusion.” Although Poe has “no quarrel” with either Graham or Griswold, he holds neither man “in especial respect.” Therefore it might be best if Bryan were to write them himself, requesting the return of his manuscripts. Poe is now making “earnest although secret exertions” to resume his project of the Penn Magazine:

You may remember that it was my original design to issue it on the first of January 1841. I was induced to abandon the project at that period by the representations of Mr Graham. He said that if I would join him as a salaried editor, giving up, for the time, my own scheme, he himself would unite with me at the expiration of 6 months, or certainly at the end of a year. As Mr G. was a man of capital and I had no money, I thought it most prudent to fall in with his views. The result has proved his want of faith and my own folly. In fact, I was continually laboring against myself. Every exertion made by myself for the benefit of “Graham”, by rendering that Mag: a greater source of profit, rendered its owner, at the same time, less willing to keep his word with me. At the time of our bargain (a verbal one) he had 6000 subscribers — when I left him he had more than 40,000. It is no wonder that he has been tempted to leave me in the lurch.

Poe had “nearly 1000 subscribers with which to have started the ‘Penn’ ”; from his original list perhaps “3 or 4 hundred” will still support the magazine. Between now and 1 January 1843, when he plans to issue the first number, he must enlist additional subscribers: “If, therefore, you can aid me in Alexandria, with even a single name, I shall feel deeply indebted to your friendship” (L, 1:204-07).

[1842] 6 JULY. Poe writes Thomas Holley Chivers in Middletown, Connecticut, apologizing for not replying to his last three letters: “A world of perplexing business has led me to postpone, from day to day, a duty which it is always a pleasure to perform.” In the first letter Chivers had spoken of the notice he received in the December 1841 installment of “Autography.” Poe wishes to modify this evaluation of Chivers’ merits: “The paper had scarcely gone to press before I saw and acknowledged to myself the injustice I had done you — an injustice which it is my full purpose to repair at the first opportunity. What I said of your grammatical errors arose from some imperfect recollections of one or two poems sent to the first volume of the S. L. Messenger. But in more important respects I now deeply feel that I have wronged you by a hasty opinion. You will not suppose me insincere in saying that I look upon some of your late pieces as the finest I have ever read.” When Chivers wrote his most recent letter, dated 11 June, [page 374:] he was unaware of Poe’s resignation from Graham’s: “What disposition shall I make of the ‘Invocation to Spring’? The other pieces are in the hands of my successor, Mr Griswold.” Poe now intends to resume the Penn Magazine project: “As I have no money myself, it will be absolutely necessary that I procure a partner who has some pecuniary means. I mention this to you — for it is not impossible that you yourself may have both the will & the ability to join me” (L, 2:697-98).

[1842] 7 JULY. Poe writes his first cousin Elizabeth Rebecca Herring, now the widow of Andrew Turner Tutt, in Woodville, Rappahannock County, Virginia: “My dear little wife grew much better from the very first day after taking the Jew’s Beer. It seemed to have the most instantaneous and miraculous effect. . . . About ten days ago, however, I was obliged to go on to New York on business . . . she began to fret . . . because she did not hear from me twice a day” (L, 1:209).

[1842] 9 JULY. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. The Literary Souvenir reprints Poe’s tale “Eleonora” (Heartman and Canny, p. 222).

[1842] 11 JULY. ALEXANDRIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. Bryan replies to Poe’s 6 July letter, promising to enlist subscribers for the Penn Magazine: “We stand in need of a literary journal of the character which you propose to give to yours; a character based on principles uninfluenced by selfish monopolising cliques, and stamped with the impress of justice and truth, regardless of sectional partialities and the indiscriminate puffery and exclusiveness of a combination of self-constituted critics. . . . I am convinced that you occupy a very favourable position as an editor in the estimation of the public; and when you get your journal fully established, I believe that its independence and the spirit and genius which you will be able to infuse into its columns will insure it success.” Bryan is unable to understand why Poe failed to receive his 13 May letter and the accompanying poems, since he addressed these items simply to “Edgar A Poe, Esq. Philada.,” not in care of Graham’s Magazine: “If, therefore, they were taken from the P.O. and opened by any other person, without your authority, the person opening them, was guilty of an act of baseness, for which he deserves to have his ears cut off, or a brand of infamy stamped on his front” (MB-G).

[1842] 12 JULY. NEW YORK. Chivers replies to Poe’s 6 July letter: “I am now on my way to the South, and had not time to answer your letter from Middletown, as I received it only a few moments before I started. My brother has written me a letter informing me that the division of my father’s estate will take place on the first of August, and I must hasten to my plantation to receive my portion,” Chivers thanks Poe for his “polite [page 375:] remarks” in regard to “Autography”: “I had always spoken so highly of your talents as a poet, and the best critic in this Country, that, when my friends saw it [Poe’s notice of Chivers], believing you were what I represented you to be, they came almost to the conclusion that they were not only mistaken, but that I was a bad writer, and a fit subject for the Insane Hospital.” If the editor of Graham’s likes Chivers’ poem “Invocation to Spring,” Poe has permission to give it to him. “In regard to the ‘Penn Magazine,’ all I can say at present is, that I will do all I can to aid you in the procurement of subscribers for it” (Chivers [1957], pp. 14-15).

[1842] 18 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes the New York publishers J. and H. G. Langley:

Enclosed I have the honor to send you an article which I should be pleased if you would accept for the “Democratic Review.” I am desperately pushed for money; and, in the event of Mr [John L.] O’Sullivan’s liking the “Landscape-Garden,” I would take it as an especial favor if you could mail me the amount due for it, so as to reach me here by the 21rst, on which day I shall need it. . . .

Will you be kind enough to put the best possible interpretation upon my behavior while in N-York? You must have conceived a queer idea of me — but the simple truth is that [William Ross] Wallace would insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying. The Review of [Rufus] Dawes which I offered you was deficient in a 1/2 page of commencement, which I had written to supersede the old beginning, and which gave the article the character of a general & retrospective review. No wonder you did not take it (L, 2:698-99).

[1842] AFTER 18 JULY. NEW YORK. The Langleys return “The Landscape Garden” to Poe. He then sells the story to Robert Hamilton, editor of Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion (Poe to Hamilton, 3 October).

[1842] 26 JULY. ALEXANDRIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. Bryan writes Poe again, inquiring whether he located the poems forwarded on 13 May: “I don’t care much about the loss of the M.S. as I have the rough originals, and am not sure, any how, that they merit preservation. — But the violation of your sealed packages and the detention of their contents wd. be a very different matter. I venture to hope, however, that I shall hear from you that the parties to whom suspicion pointed as being guilty of the presumed offence are innocent thereof.” Bryan has seen a report in the Philadelphia Evening Journal that a new edition of Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America is being issued:

Is there not some of the “trickery of trade” in this? — What was the am[oun]t of the 1st edition — and may not the 2nd ed. have been printed at the same time the 1st was? — By the bye have you read any of Griswold’s own verses? — The only sample I have seen of them is mere doggerel in my humble estimation. I allude to [page 376:] “Sights from my window — Alice” — printed in the May or June No. of Graham. — I have at my disposal a MS critique on this production, wh[ich] I wd. be pleased to see printed in some respectable newspaper, or periodical, published in one [of] the large cities. — Would it comport with your views & feelings to take charge of it, and, if you deemed it just and worthy of publication, have it transferred to the columns of some journal over which you have influence? (MB-G).

[1842] AFTER 26 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Bryan’s letters of 11 and 26 July. He has finally received Bryan’s 13 May letter: someone on the staff of Graham’s obtained it from the post office and opened it. The letter then passed into the possession of Griswold, who apparently read it, but did not bother to forward it. Poe suggests that Bryan contact either Thomas or Dow about publishing his criticism of Griswold’s poem in the June Graham’s, “Sights from My Window — Alice” (Bryan’s 4 August reply).

[1842] 30 JULY. NEW YORK. The New-York Mirror reports: “Edgar A. Poe, whose capabilities as an analytical critic are so generally acknowledged, is about to have a new field for their display in his proposed ‘Penn Magazine.’ ”

[1842] 30 JULY. BALTIMORE. Joseph Evans Snodgrass reviews the August Graham’s in the Saturday Visiter: “A decided change in the tone of book notices. They are more laudatory than when Mr. Poe presided over the critical department.”

[1842] 4 AUGUST. ALEXANDRIA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. Bryan replies to a letter from Poe:

I feel equally surprised and indignant at the conduct of the wretch by whom the sanctity of my letter to you was invaded: and, while I desire to exercise charity in relation to Mr Griswold in this matter, I cannot abstain from the indulgence of a suspicion that there has been at least a culpable disregard by him of our rights and of honourable principle in his connivance at the perpetration of this act of baseness; or in his failure to communicate to you the fact of the existence of such a letter, with an explanation of the circumstances connected with the invasion of its seal and the removal of its enclosures.

In a postscript Bryan acknowledges Poe’s advice: “I will take into consideration yr suggestion with regard to the publication of the critique through Mr Dow or Mr Thomas. Not having any personal or epistolary acquaintance with either of them, I feel some hesitation about the introduction of the subject to them” (MB-G).

[1842] BEFORE 12 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Poe delivers his review of The Poets and Poetry of America to Griswold, receiving from him the promised “compensation” (Poe to Thomas, 12 September). [page 377:]

[1842] 12 AUGUST. Griswold writes his friend James T. Fields in Boston: “I have sent to-day the article by Poe, about my book, to Bradbury & Soden for their magazine [the Boston Miscellany], with a request that if it be not acceptable, they will return it to you. I thought likely the name of Poe — gratuitously furnished — might be of some consequence, though I care not a fig about the publication of the criticism, as the author and myself not being on the best terms, it is not decidedly as favorable as it might have been. Will you see to it, though” (MH-H).

[Poe’s criticism was judiciously favorable, but Griswold had expected pure laudation. He seems to have regarded reviews as advertisements or favors, rather than impartial evaluations. On 10 July, for example, he had written Fields, the junior partner in Ticknor & Company, discussing this firm’s new edition of Tennyson’s poetry: “Did you see what a puff I gave Tennyson in the Sat. Eve. Post? . . . I puff your books, you know, without any regard to their quality” (CSmH).]

[1842] 17 AUGUST. In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle reports: “We understand that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has made all his arrangements and will positively bring out the first number of the ‘Penn Magazine’ on 1st January. It will assume a high tone, and take a bold stand among our literary periodicals. God knows! something of the kind is needed.”

[1842] 19 AUGUST. Du Solle’s Times carries a second report: “NOT SO. — The Eastern and Southern papers all state Edgar A. Poe is about to start a Penny Magazine. It is the ‘Penn’ Magazine, gentlemen — $5 per annum.”

[1842] 27 AUGUST. Poe writes Frederick William Thomas in Washington: “How happens it that I have received not a line from you for these four months? . . . I wrote a few words to you, about two months since, from New York, at the importunate demand of W. Wallace, in which you were requested to use your influence, &c. He overlooked me while I wrote, & therefore I could not speak of private matters. I presume you gave the point as much consideration as it demanded, & no more.” Poe is anxious to learn of Thomas’ activities: “Since I heard from you I have had a reiteration of the promise, about the Custom-House appointment, from Rob Tyler. A friend of mine, Mr. Jas. Herron, having heard from me casually, that I had some hope of an appointment, called upon R. T., who assured him that I should certainly have it & desired him so to inform me. I have, also, paid my respects to Gen. J. W. Tyson, the leader of the T. party in the city, who seems especially well disposed — but, notwithstanding all this, I have my doubts. A few days will end them. If I do not get the office, I am just where I started. Nothing more can be done to secure it than has been [page 378:] already done.” Virginia Poe is still ill: “I have scarcely a faint hope of her recovery” (L, 1:209-10).

[During the summer the Philadelphia papers carried reports of impending removals and appointments in the Custom House, which were expected to occur as soon as Thomas S. Smith, a lawyer and politician active in the city’s Tyler organization, became the new Collector. See Thomas (1978), pp. 415, 428.]

[1842] 2 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe, describing his continuing efforts to secure an appointment for his friend. Mr. Beard, who will visit Philadelphia in a few days, wishes to make Poe’s acquaintance (Poe’s 12 September reply).

Rufus W. Griswold [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 378, bottom]
 
Rufus W. Griswold

[1842] 7 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Griswold replies to a letter from James T. Fields in Boston: “Perhaps Poe’s article will not affect the book at all, but I am rather pleased that it is to appear, lest Poe should think I had prevented its publication” (Griswold (1898], pp. 120-21).

[1842] 10 SEPTEMBER. In the Spirit of the Times Du Solle reports: “It seems that there is a little backwater somewhere in relation to the Collectorship of this [page 379:] Port. T. S. Smith has not gotten his commission yet, or had not yesterday morning, and per consequence the expectants of office under him (and so far, we perceive by the list, he has had only 1124 applicants for about 30 berths,) are in a state of most inextricable confusion.”

[1842] 10 SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. Walter Forward, the Secretary of the Treasury, writes Jonathan Roberts, Collector of the Port of Philadelphia: “I am directed by the President to inform you that he has appointed Thomas S. Smith to be Collector of the Customs for the District of Philadelphia, in your place” (printed in the Philadelphia United States Gazette, 14 September).

[1842] BEFORE 12 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Poe family moves to a small row house on Coates Street, in the Fairmount district (McElroy’s Philadelphia Directory for 1843; Phillips, 1:747-49).

[1842] 12 SEPTEMBER. Poe replies to Thomas’ 2 September letter. He has not seen Mr. Beard, who may have had difficulty in locating his residence: “since you were here I have moved out in the neighborhood of Fairmount.” Poe thanks Thomas for his “kind offices in the matter of the appointment” to the Custom House: “So far, nothing has been done here in the way of reform. Thos. S. Smith is to have the Collectorship, but it appears has not yet received his commission — a fact which occasions much surprise among the quid-nuncs.” Graham has made Poe “a good offer” to return to his magazine:

He [Graham] is not especially pleased with Griswold — nor is any one else, with the exception of the Rev. gentleman himself, who has gotten himself into quite a hornet’s nest, by his “Poets & Poetry”. It appears you gave him personal offence by delay in replying to his demand for information touching Mrs Welby, I believe, or somebody else. Hence his omission of you in the body of the book; for he had prepared quite a long article from my MS. and had selected several pages for quotation. . . . About two months since, we were talking about the book, when I said that I had thought of reviewing it in full for the “Democratic Review”, but found my design anticipated by an article from that ass [John L.] O’Sullivan, and that I knew no other work in which a notice would be readily admissible. Griswold said, in reply — “You need not trouble yourself about the publication of the review, should you decide upon writing it; for I will attend to all that. I will get it in some reputable work, and look to it for the usual pay; in the meantime handing you whatever your charge would be”. This, you see, was an ingenious insinuation of a bribe to puff his book. I accepted his offer forthwith, wrote the review, handed it to him and received from him the compensation: — he never daring to look over the M.S. in my presence, and taking it for granted that all was right. But that review has not yet appeared, and I am doubtful if it ever will (L, 1:210-13). [page 380:]

[Griswold had asked Poe to prepare a sketch of Thomas; later he decided to relegate Thomas to the appendix reserved for lesser poets, who were not accorded biographical notices or extensive quotation. In this letter Poe overemphasized the severity of his review in order to assure Thomas that he disapproved of Griswold’s decision.]

[1842] 13 SEPTEMBER. The Spirit of the Times reports: “So Mr. Smith is Collector of the Port at last. . . . The applications for office under him yesterday were innumerable.”

[1842] 15 SEPTEMBER. The United States Gazette reports: “Thos. S. Smith, Esq., the recently appointed Collector, took possession of his office on Monday last [12 September], and on the same day removed eleven of the Measurers and Inspectors.”

[1842] 15 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Chivers writes Poe, forwarding the names of four subscribers to the Penn Magazine (Poe’s 27 September reply).

[1842] 16? SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Thomas arrives from Washington for a brief visit, taking lodgings in John Sturdivant’s Congress Hall Hotel, Chestnut and Third Streets.

[1842] 17 SEPTEMBER. SATURDAY. Thomas visits the Poe residence on Coates Street:

I met Poe in Philadelphia during September, 1842. He lived in a rural home on the outskirts of the city. His house was small, but comfortable inside for one of the kind. The rooms looked neat and orderly, but everything about the place wore an air of pecuniary want. Although I arrived late in the morning Mrs. Clemm, Poe’s mother-in-law, was busy preparing for his breakfast. My presence possibly caused some confusion, but I noticed that there was delay and evident difficulty in procuring the meal. His wife entertained me. Her manners were agreeable and graceful. She had well formed, regular features, with the most expressive and intelligent eyes I ever beheld. Her pale complexion, the deep lines in her face and a consumptive cough made me regard her as the victim for an early grave. She and her mother showed much concern about Eddie, as they called Poe, and were anxious to have him secure work. I afterwards learned from Poe that he had been to New York in search of employment and had also made effort to get out an edition of his tales, but was unsuccessful.

When Poe appeared his dark hair hung carelessly over his high forehead, and his dress was a little slovenly. He met me cordially, but was reserved, and complained of feeling unwell. His pathetic tenderness and loving manners towards his wife greatly impressed me. I was not long in observing with deep regret that he had fallen again into habits of intemperance. I ventured to remonstrate with him. He admitted yielding to temptation to drink while in New York and turned the [page 381:] subject off by telling an amusing dialogue of Lucian, the Greek writer. We visited the city together and had an engagement for the following day. I left him sober, but he did not keep the engagement and wrote me that he was ill (Thomas quoted by Whitty [1911], pp. xliii- xliv).

[1842] 17 SEPTEMBER. Poe and Thomas visit the city. Poe describes his plans for the Penn Magazine. Thomas discusses Poe’s prospects of obtaining a position in the Custom House, assuring him that Robert Tyler wishes to see him appointed. Poe promises to meet Thomas at his hotel tomorrow morning (Poe’s letters to Thomas, 21 September 1842 and 8 September 1844).

[1842] 18 SEPTEMBER. Thomas sees John S. Du Solle, editor of the Spirit of the Times.

[1842] 19 SEPTEMBER. Du Solle’s Times reports: “Mr. Thomas[,] the gifted author of ‘Clinton Bradshaw, was in town yesterday, and left last evening for Washington, where he has an official situation.”

[1842] 21 SEPTEMBER. Poe writes Thomas in Washington:

I am afraid you will think that I keep my promises but indifferently well, since I failed to make my appearance at Congress Hall on Sunday, and I now, therefore, write to apologise. The will to be with you was not wanting — but, upon reaching home on Saturday night, I was taken with a severe chill and fever — the latter keeping me company all next day. I found myself too ill to venture out, but, nevertheless, would have done so had I been able to obtain the consent of all parties. . . . I was much in hope that you would have made your way out in the afternoon. Virginia & Mrs C. were much grieved at not being able to bid you farewell.

I perceive by Du Solle’s paper that you saw him. He announced your presence in the city on Sunday, in very handsome terms (L, 1:213-14).

[1842] 24 SEPTEMBER. The Saturday Evening Post notices the publication of the Gift for 1843, observing that it contains a contribution by Poe [“The Pit and the Pendulum”].

[1842] 26 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Chivers writes Poe: “Just before I started to the South, I gave Mr Hunt a poem entitled ‘The Mighty Dead,’ which I directed him to give to Israel Post, to be directed to you. I have just seen Post, and he informs me that the Package was never handed to him. I am very uneasy to know what disposition he [Hunt] made of the poem, as I am fearful that he has caused you to pay the postage on it . . . . I do wish that if you received the poem that you will let me know immediately whether or not you were so imposed upon” (Chivers [1957], p. 16). [page 382:]

[1842] 27 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Chivers in New York: “Through some accident, I did not receive your letter of the 15th inst: until this morning, and now hasten to reply.” The “four names” Chivers forwarded for the Penn Magazine will aid the project “most materially in this early stage.” As yet Poe has not even prepared a new prospectus; he does not wish to announce the “positive resumption of the original scheme” until the middle of October:

Before that period I have reason to believe that I shall have received an appointment in the Philadelphia Custom House, which will afford me a good salary and leave the greater portion of my time unemployed. With this appointment to fall back upon, as a certain resource, I shall be enabled to start the Magazine without difficulty, provided I can make an arrangement with either a practical printer possessing a small office, or some one not a printer, with about $1000 at command.

It would, of course, be better for the permanent influence and success of the journal that I unite myself with a gentleman of education & similarity of thought and feeling. It was this consciousness which induced me to suggest the enterprise to yourself. I know no one with whom I would more readily enter into association than yourself.

I am not aware what are your political views. My own have reference to no one of the present parties; but it has been hinted to me that I will receive the most effectual patronage from Government, for a journal which will admit occasional papers in support of the Administration. For Mr [John] Tyler personally, & as an honest statesman, I have the highest respect. Of the government patronage, upon the condition specified, I am assured and this alone will more than sustain the Magazine (L, 1:214-16).

[1842] OCTOBER. Graham’s Magazine contains Poe’s scathing evaluation of a Baltimore poetaster, “The Poetry of Rufus Dawes — A Retrospective Criticism.”

[1842] OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion contains Poe’s story “The Landscape Garden.”

[1842] 1 OCTOBER. Horace Greeley’s Daily Tribune reviews the October Graham’s, describing Poe’s criticism of Dawes as “true in the main but supercilious and rather commonplace” (Griswold [1898], pp. 117-18).

[1842] 1 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Snodgrass notices Graham’s in the Saturday Visiter: “Edgar A. Poe completely ‘uses up’ Rufus Dawes in a review. Dawes, in poetry, is pretty much of a humbug, it must be confessed.”

[1842] 3 OCTOBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes Robert Hamilton, editor of the Ladies’ Companion:

I see that you have my Landscape-Garden in your last number — but, oh [page 383:] Jupiter! the typographical blunders. Have you been sick, or what is the matter?

I wrote you, some time since, saying that if, upon perusal of the “Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” you found anything not precisely suited to your pages, I would gladly re-purchase it; but, should you conclude to retain it, for God’s sake contrive to send me the proofs; or, at all events read them yourself. Such errors as occur in the “Landscape-Garden” would completely ruin a tale such as “Marie Rogêt:’

How about the $5 due? Try and get it for me & send it by return mail and “as in duty bound we shall ever pray” &c &c.

Apparently alluding to his drinking bout in New York in late June, Poe assures Hamilton: “I am as straight as judges — somewhat more straight indeed than some of our Phil: dignitaries — and, what is more, I intend to keep straight” (TxU-HRCL; Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 55-56).

[1842] 5 OCTOBER. Poe replies to a 21 September letter from John Tomlin in Jackson, Tennessee, who had inquired about the Penn Magazine. Poe is determined to begin publication on 1 January 1843: “I am to receive an office in the Custom House in this city . . . . With this to fall back upon as a certain resource until the Magazine is fairly afloat, all must go well. . . . Every new name, in the beginning of the enterprise, is worth five afterwards. My list of subscribers is getting to be quite respectable, although, as yet, I have positively taken no overt steps to procure names” (L, 1:216-17).

[1842] 5 OCTOBER. Lambert A. Wilmer replies to two letters from Tomlin: “I believe the tightness of the times and the uncertain state of the currency have prevented Poe’s Magazine enterprise and my own, — at least for the present.” Wilmer has never seen Tomlin’s review of The Quacks of Helicon, which appeared in the Columbia, Tennessee, Guardian for May: “The copy you sent fell into the hands of Poe, who lost or mislaid it before I could set eyes on it. I was vexed at this circumstance, as I intended to have the article copied into some of our city papers” (published by Tomlin in Holden’s Dollar Magazine, November 1848).

[1842] AFTER 11 OCTOBER. Poe has three interviews with Thomas S. Smith, the new Collector of Customs.

[In his 19 November letter to Thomas, Poe recalled:

As for me, he [Smith] has treated me most shamefully. In my case, there was no need of any political shuffling or lying. I professed my willingness to postpone my claims to those of political claimants; but he told me, upon my first interview after the election, that if I would call on the fourth day he would swear me in. I called & he was not at home. On the next day I called again & saw him, when he told me that he would send a Messenger for me when ready: — this without even [page 384:] inquiring my place of residence — showing that he had, from the first, no design of appointing me. Well, I waited nearly a month, when, finding nearly all the appts made, I again called. He did not even ask me to be seated — scarcely spoke — muttered the words “I will send for you Mr Poe” — and that was all.

A municipal election was held in Philadelphia on 11 October. During October and November the city’s newspapers carried frequent reports of the removals and appointments in the Custom House.]

[1842] BEFORE 21 OCTOBER. BOSTON. The Boston Miscellany for November contains Poe’s review of The Poets and Poetry of America. Although Poe expresses disagreement with some of Griswold’s critical judgments and with his partiality for New England writers, he describes this anthology as “the most important addition which our literature has for many years received. . . . Mr. Griswold . . . has entitled himself to the thanks of his countrymen, while showing himself a man of taste, talent, and tact.”

[1842] 21 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Henry J. Raymond writes Griswold in Philadelphia: “The Boston Miscellany, I see, has a good puff of your Poets by Poe” (Griswold [1898], p. 125).

[1842] NOVEMBER. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion contains the first installment of Poe’s long tale “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

[1842] 9 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Pennsylvanian reports the publication of Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation, an account of his tour of the United States earlier this year: “There was quite an excitement about town yesterday in reference to the new word by ‘Boz.’ The news boys did a smashing business in selling what it pleased them to call ‘Dickinson’s Works on Amerikey,’ and Zieber, at the corner of Third and Dock streets, disposed of fifteen hundred extras of the ‘New World,’ containing this literary novelty, in the course of an hour.”

[1842] 11 NOVEMBER. Charles J. Peterson replies to a letter from John Tomlin in Jackson, Tennessee:

You ask me for a line of literary news. There is little afloat, and of that little the “Notes for General Circulation” contribute the chief topic. Boz has done as much justice to this country as we deserve, and quite as much as any dispassionate American would ask for. He has been as impartial as he could be considering the character of his mind, for while he notices details accurately he is not capable of comprehensive views, and his imagination, like a woman’s, conquers his more reasoning faculties. . . . I didn’t see Boz, but Poe did, and he said at the time that my estimate of Dickens’ character was correct. You have great faith in Poe, [page 385:] and if you will read the “Notes” you will agree with me (published by Tomlin in Holden’s Dollar Magazine, August 1849).

[1842] 14 NOVEMBER. WASHINGTON. Thomas writes Poe, giving him “new hope” of a Custom House appointment (Poe’s 19 November reply).

[1842] 16 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe writes James Russell Lowell in Boston:

Learning your design of commencing a Magazine [the Pioneer], in Boston, upon the first of January next, I take the liberty of asking whether some arrangement might not be made, by which I should become a regular contributor.

I should be glad to furnish a short article each month — of such character as might be suggested by yourself — and upon such terms as you could afford “in the beginning”.

That your success. will be marked and permanent I will not doubt. At all events, I most sincerely wish you well; for no man in America has excited in me so much of admiration — and, therefore, none so much of respect and esteem — as the author of “Rosaline” (L, 1:217).

[1842] 17 NOVEMBER. The National Forum reports: “The following removals and appointments have been made in the Custom House. Removals — Peter B. Curry, Henry Schell, Robert Neal, J. Hullings, and Urban R. Titterville. Appointments — George Guthrie, Jesse Waln, Sandy Harris, and — Pogue” (cf. Poe to Thomas, 19 November).

[1842] 17 NOVEMBER. LONDON. Charles Dickens writes the prominent publisher Edward Moxon, concerning a possible English edition of Poe’s fiction: “Pray write me such a reply as I can send to the author of the volumes [Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque] and to get absolution for my conscience in this matter” (Dickens, 3:375).

[1842] 18 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The influential Daily Tribune reports the solution of the Mary Rogers mystery: the pretty “cigar girl” was not murdered, but had died during an illegal abortion (Walsh, pp. 55-56; Mabbott [1978], 3:719-20).

[1842] 19 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Spirit of the Times, the Daily Chronicle, and the Public Ledger announce the solution of the Mary Rogers case, basing their reports on the account in yesterday’s Tribune. The North American simply reprints this account:

The terrible mystery which for more than a year has hung over the fate of Mary Rogers, whose body was found, as our readers will well remember, in the North River, under circumstances such as convinced every one that she was the victim of [page 386:] hellish lust and then of murder, is at last explained — to the satisfaction we doubt not of all. It may be recollected that associated with the tale of her disappearance was the name of Mrs. Loss, the woman who kept the refreshment house nearest the scene of her death. About a week since, as we have already stated, this woman was accidentally wounded by the premature discharge of a gun in the hands of her son; the wound proved fatal; but before she died she sent for Justice Merritt, of New Jersey, and told him the following facts.

On the Sunday of Miss Rogers’ disappearance she came to her house from this city in company with a young physician, who undertook to procure for her a premature delivery.

While in the hands of the physician she died, and a consultation was then held as to the disposal of her body. It was finally taken at night by the son of Mrs. Loss and sunk in the river where it was found. . . .

[These reports would have been unsettling to Poe, who believed that he had indicated Mary’s murderer in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” then being serialized in Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion. Although the Tribune’s account soon proved without foundation, Poe revised “Marie Rogêt” to accommodate the possibility of a bungled abortion before including it in the 1845 edition of his Tales (Walsh, pp. 69-73). On 4 January 1848 he wrote George W. Eveleth that Mary’s death had resulted “from an attempt at abortion.”]

[1842] 19 NOVEMBER. Presumably disturbed by the new development in the Mary Rogers case, Poe calls on Thomas S. Smith in search of an occupation other than literature.

[1842] 19 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Thomas in Washington:

Your letter of the 14th gave me new hope — only to be dashed to the ground. On the day of its receipt, some of the papers announced four removals and appointments. Among the latter I observed the name —— Pogue. Upon inquiry among those behind the curtain, I soon found that no such person as —— Pogue had any expectation of an appt and that the name was a misprint or rather a misunderstanding of the reporters, who had heard my own name spoken of at the Custom-House. I waited 2 days without calling upon Mr Smith, as he had twice told me that “he would send for me when he wished to swear me in.” To-day, however, hearing nothing from him, I called. I asked him if he had no good news for me yet. He replied — “No, I am instructed to make no more removals.” At this, being much astonished, I mentioned that I had heard, through a friend, from Mr Rob. Tyler, that he was requested to appoint me. At these words he said, toughly, — “From whom did you say?” I replied from Mr Robert Tyler. I wish you could have seen the scoundrel — for scoundrel, my Dear Thomas in your private ear, he is — “From Robert Tyler!” says he — “hem! I have received orders from President Tyler to make no more appts and shall make none.” Immediately afterwards he acknowledged that he had made one appt since these instructions. [page 387:]

Poe describes three previous interviews in which Smith treated him “most shamefully”; but he has not been insulted so much as Thomas’ friend Robert Tyler, who requested his appointment. “It seems to me that the only way to serve me now, is to lay the matter once again before Mr T. and, if possible, through him, to procure a few lines from the President directing Mr Smith to give me the place” (L, 2:699-701).

[1842] 19 NOVEMBER. BOSTON. Lowell writes Poe: “Your letter [of 16 November] has given me great pleasure in two ways; — first, as it assures me of the friendship and approbation of almost the only fearless American critic, and second (to be Irish) since it contains your acquiescence to a request which I had already many times mentally preferred to you. Had you not written you would soon have heard from me.” Lowell gives Poe “carte blanche “ to contribute either prose or verse to the Pioneer, with a single exception: “namely I do not wish an article like that of yours on Dawes, who, although I think with you that he is a bad poet, has yet I doubt not tender feelings as a man which I should be chary of wounding. I think that I shall be hardest pushed for good stories (imaginative ones) & if you are inspired to anything of the kind I should be glad to get it.” Although the magazine is already in press, “anything sent ‘right away’ will be in season for the first number.” Lowell offers Poe “$10 for every article at first” (W, 17:120-21).

[1842] 19 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Morning Courier publishes a letter from Justice Gilbert Merritt of Hudson County, New Jersey, who denies the report that Mary Rogers had died during an abortion: “I noticed a statement in the Tribune of this morning [18 November], relative to a confession said to have been made before me by the late Mrs. Loss, which is entirely incorrect, as no such examination took place, nor could it, from the deranged state of Mrs. Loss’ mind” (Walsh, p. 56).

[1842] 21 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Spirit of the Times reports that the article published in Friday’s New York Daily Tribune has proven to be a hoax: “On Saturday last [19 November] an examination was held before a magistrate. The sons of Mrs. Loss, and a number of other persons were examined on oath, but nothing was elicited tending in the least to throw any light on the death of Mary C. Rogers.”

[1842] BEFORE 27 NOVEMBER. LONDON. Edward Moxon replies to Dickens’ 17 November letter: he is unable to publish Poe’s tales (Dickens to Poe).

[1842] 27 NOVEMBER. Dickens writes Poe: [page 388:]

I have never been able to find among my papers, since I came to England, the letter you wrote to me at New York. But I read it there, and think I am correct in believing that it charged me with no other mission than that which you had already entrusted to me by word of mouth. Believe me that it never, for a moment, escaped my recollection . . . .

I should have forwarded you the accompanying letter from Mr. Moxon before now, but that I have delayed doing so in the hope that some other channel for the publication of [y]our book on this side of the water would present itself to me. I am, however, unable to report any success. I have mentioned it to publishers with whom I have influence, but they have, one and all, declined the venture. And the only consolation I can give you is that I do not believe any collection of detached pieces by an unknown writer, even though he were an Englishman, would be at all likely to find a publisher in this metropolis just now (Dickens, 3:384-85).

[1842] DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion contains the second installment of Poe’s “Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

[1842] EARLY DECEMBER? PHILADELPHIA. Poe submits his story “The Tell-Tale Heart” to the Boston Miscellany (Lowell to Poe, 17 December).

[1842] 7 DECEMBER. AUGUSTA, GEORGIA. Chivers writes Poe: he has returned to his home state to receive his share of his father’s estate. He gives his reactions to the death of his daughter, Allegra Florence Chivers, on 18 October: “Now my hope is dead — the beautiful saintly winged dove which soared so high from the earth — luring my impatient soul to wander, delighted, from prospect to prospect — has been wounded in her midway flight to heaven by the keen icy arrows of Death! . . . She was sick only two days — sick when I was not near to render her assistence! My God! there is a darkness gathering round [my] soul of the deepest sorrow, which the light of no future joy can ever illumine! . . . My little daughter of three years old — my blue eyed child — is gone!” (Chivers [1957], pp. 1921).

[1842] 10 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Museum, a weekly newspaper edited and published by Poe’s friend Thomas C. Clarke, issues its first number.

[1842] BEFORE 12 DECEMBER. BOSTON. Henry T. Tuckerman, the new editor of the Boston Miscellany, rejects “The Tell-Tale Heart,” having the publishers Bradbury & Soden write the author: “if Mr Poe would condescend to furnish more quiet articles he would be a most desirable correspondent.” Lowell obtains Poe’s story for the Pioneer (Lowell to Poe, 17 December, and Poe’s reply, 25 December).

[1842] 12 DECEMBER. Lowell writes Charles J. Peterson. He is due money for a [page 389:] contribution to Graham’s Magazine; he requests that $10 of this sum be given to Poe as payment for “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Peterson’s reply; Poe to Lowell, 4 February 1843).

[1842] 15 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Peterson replies to Lowell: “As soon as your poem is in print I will pay Poe and take the receipt as you wish” (MH-H).

[1842] 17 DECEMBER. BOSTON. Lowell writes Poe: “Your story of ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ will appear in my first number. Mr. Tuckerman (perhaps your chapter on Autographs is to blame) would not print it in the Miscellany, & I was very glad to get it for myself. It may argue presumptuousness in me to dissent from his verdict. I should be glad to hear from you soon. You must send me another article, as my second number will soon go to press” (W, 17:125).

[1842] 25 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe replies to Lowell, enclosing his poem “Lenore” for the second number of the Pioneer. He thanks Lowell for reversing Tuckerman’s judgment: “Touching the ‘Miscellany’ — had I known of Mr T’s accession, I should not have ventured to send an article. Should he, at any time, accept an effusion of mine, I should ask myself what twattle I had been perpetrating, so flat as to come within the scope of his approbation.” Poe quotes a letter he received from the publishers which reflects Tuckerman’s opinion of his story: “All I have to say is that if Mr T. persists in his quietude, he will put a quietus to the Magazine of which Mess. Bradbury & Soden have been so stupid as to give him control” (L, 1:220).

[1842] 27 DECEMBER. Poe writes Lowell again, proposing a minor revision in the fourth stanza of “Lenore” (L, 1:221).

[1842] 1842. John S. Detwiler, the son of Poe’s next-door neighbor Benjamin Detwiler, recalls: “This property [Poe’s residence in the Fairmount district] was owned in those days by a Mr. Michael Bouvier . . . who seemed to be [a] very warm friend of Mr. Poe, because both his wife and himself used to visit Mr. Poe and Mrs. Clem[m] . . . . Poe often visited the Wissahickon because he was a great lover of nature and fond of roving about the country . . . . Mr. Bouvier was a mahogany and marble merchant at 2d and Walnut streets” (Detwiler to E. C. Jellett, undated letter in Joseph Jackson Collection, PHi; cf. Phillips, 1:748-49).

[The Wissahiccon was a stream on the outskirts of Philadelphia which Poe described in his sketch “Morning on the Wissahiccon” (later entitled “The Elk”).] [page 390:]

[1842] CA. 1842. George R. Graham recalls:

He [Poe] was quick, it is true, to perceive mere quacks in literature, and somewhat apt to be hasty when pestered with them; but upon most other questions his natural amiability was not easily disturbed. Upon a subject that he understood thoroughly, he felt some right to be positive, if not arrogant, when addressing pretenders. . . . Literature with him was religion; and he, its high-priest, with a whip of scorpions scourged the money-changers from the temple. In all else he had the docility and kind-heartedness of a child. . . .

I shall never forget how solicitous of the happiness of his wife and mother-in-law he was, whilst one of the editors of Graham’s Magazine — his whole efforts seemed to be to procure the comfort and welfare of his home. Except for their happiness — and the natural ambition of having a magazine of his own — I never heard him deplore the want of wealth. The truth is, he cared little for money, and knew less of its value, for he seemed to have no personal expenses. What he received from me in regular monthly instalments, went directly into the hands of his mother-in-law . . . . His love for his wife was a sort of rapturous worship of the spirit of beauty which he felt was fading before his eyes. I have seen him hovering around her when she was ill, with all the fond fear and tender anxiety of a mother for her first-born — her slightest cough causing in him a shudder, a heart-chill that was visible. I rode out one summer evening with them, and the remembrance of his watchful eyes eagerly bent upon the slightest change of hue in that loved face, haunts me yet as the memory of a sad strain (Graham, p. 225).

[1842] CA. 1842. BALTIMORE. William Whitelock, a businessman, receives a presentation copy of The Conchologist’s First Book from Professor Thomas Wyatt, who inscribes it “From the author.” Whitelock recalls:

Turning to the title page, where Poe was so named, the Professor informed me he had prepared the work, but paid Poe $50 for the use of his name. This naturally led him to speak of the poet, whose neighbor he was in Philadelphia — the sickness of his wife, his pecuniary straits at times, and his assistance in enabling him to bridge these over. He alluded to him in the kindest manner, and while conceding to the poet a brilliant genius, attributed his troubles to a want of thrift and prudence in his domestic affairs (Baltimore American, 7 April 1881; see also Thomas [1978], pp. 951-54).

 


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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 02])