Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Pendleton Kennedy — September 11, 1835 (LTR-050)


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Sep: 11th 1835

Dear Sir,

I received a letter yesterday from Dr Miller in which he tells me you are in town. I hasten, therefore, to write you — and express by letter what I have always found it impossible to express orally — my deep sense of gratitude for your frequent and effectual assistance and kindness. Through your influence Mr White has been induced to employ me in assisting him with the Editorial duties of his Magazine [the Southern Literary Messenger ] at a salary of $520 per annum. The situation is agreable to me for many reasons — but alas! it appears to me that nothing can now give me pleasure — or the slightest gratification. Excuse me, my dear Sir, if in this letter you find much incoherency. My feelings at this moment are pitiable indeed. I am suffering under a depression of spirits such as I have never felt before. I have struggled in vain against the influence of this melancholy — You will believe me when I say that I am still miserable in spite of the great improvement in my circumstances. I say you will believe me, and for this simple reason, that a man who is writing for effect does not write thus. My heart is open before you — if it be worth reading, read it. I am wretched, and know not why. Console me — for you can. But let it be quickly — or it will be too late. Write me immediately. Convince me that it is worth one’s while — that it is at all necessary to live, and you will prove yourself indeed my friend. Persuade me to do what is right. I do not mean this — I do not mean that you should consider what I now write you a jest — oh pity me! for I feel that my words are incoherent — but I will recover myself. You will not fail to see that I am suffering under a depression of spirits which will  not fail to  ruin me should it be long continued. Write me then, and quickly. Urge me to do what is right. Your words will have more weight with me than the words of others — for you were my friend when no one else was. Fail not — as you value your peace of mind hereafter.

E A. Poe.

Mr White desires me to say that if you could send him any contribution for the Messenger it would serve him most effectually. I would consider it a personal favour if you could do so without incommoding yourself. I will write you more fully hereafter.

John P. Kennedy Esqr

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I see “the Gift” is out. They have published the M.S. found in a Bottle (, the prize tale you will remember,) although I not only told Mr Carey myself that it had been published, but wrote him to that effect after my return to Baltimore, and sent him another tale in place of it (Epimanes). I cannot understand why they have published it — or why they have not published either “Siope” or “Epimanes.”

Mr White is willing to publish my Tales of the Folio Club — that is to print them. Would you oblige me by ascertaining from Carey & Lea whether they would, in that case, appear nominally as the publishers, the books, when printed, being sent on to them, as in the case of H. S. Robinson?

Have you seen the “Discoveries in the Moon”? Do you not think it altogether suggested by Hans Phaa1? It is very singular, — but when I first purposed writing a Tale concerning the Moon, the idea of Telescopic discoveries suggested itself to me — but I afterwards abandoned it. I had however spoken of it freely, & from many little incidents & apparently trivial remarks in those Discoveries I am convinced that the idea was stolen from myself.

Yours most sincerely
Edgar A. Poe


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Notes:

This letter is printed here with permission from the Archives of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

”H. S. Robinson“ was Kennedy’s novel Horse Shoe Robinson


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. P. Kennedy (LTR050/RCL101)