Text: Edgar Allan Poe to James H. Causten — June 3, 1836 (LTR-064)


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Richmond, Va    June 3. 1836.

Dr Sir,

Understanding that you have been engaged, at different times, in the prosecution of private claims against the Government of the U.S. I have taken the liberty of addressing you on a subject of this nature. I believe you were personally acquainted with some branches of my family in Baltimore. I am the son of David Poe Jr of that city. It appears to me (and to some others to whom I have mentioned the subject) that my aunt, Mrs Maria Clemm (who now resides with me in Richmond, I having married her daughter) has a claim against the U.S. to a large amount which might be carried to a successful issue if properly managed. I will state, as briefly as possible, the nature of the claim, of which I pretend to give merely an outline, not vouching for particular dates or amounts.

During the war of the Revolution, Mrs C’s father, Gen: David Poe, was a quarter-master in what was then called the Maryland line. He, at various times, loaned money to the State of Maryland, and about seventeen years ago died, while engaged in making arrangements for the prosecution of his claim. His widow, Mrs Elizabeth Poe, applied to the State Government, which, finding itself too impoverished to think of paying the whole amount (then nearly $40,000) passed a bill, for the immediate time, granting Mrs Poe an annuity of $240 — thus tacitly acknowledging the validity of the vouchers adduced. Mrs Poe is now dead, and I am inclined to believe, from the successful prosecution of several claims of far less promise, but of a similar nature, that the whole claim might be substantiated before the General Government — which has provided for a liberal interpretation of all vouchers in such cases. Among these vouchers (now in proper form at Annapolis) are, I believe, letters from Washington, La Fayette, & many others speaking in high terms of the services and patriotism of Gen: Poe. I have never seen the bill granting the annuity to Mrs Poe, but it may possibly contain a proviso against any future claim. This however, would be of little moment, if the matter were properly brought before Congress.

My object in addressing you is to inquire if you would be willing to investigate and conduct this claim — leaving the terms for your own consideration. Mrs C. authorizes me to act for her in every respect. I would be glad to hear from you as soon as you can make it convenient.

Very resply
Yr Ob. St
Edgar A. Poe

James H. Causten Esqr


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. H. Causten (LTR064/RCL139)