Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Joseph Evans Snodgrass — June 17, 1840 (LTR-095)


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Philadelphia June 17

My dear Snodgrass,

Yours of the 12th was duly received but I have found it impossible to answer it before, owing to an unusual press of business which has positively not left me a moment to myself. Touching your Essay. Burton not only lies, but deliberately and wilfully lies; for the last time but one that I saw him I called his attention to the M.S. which was then at the top of a pile of other M.S.S. sent for premiums, in a drawer of the office desk. The last day I was in the office I saw the Essay in the same position, and I am perfectly sure it is there still. You know it is a peculiar looking M.S. and I could not mistake it. In saying it was not in his possession his sole design was to vex you, and through you myself. Were I in your place I would take some summary method of dealing with the scoundrel, whose infamous line of conduct in regard to this whole premium scheme merits, and shall receive exposure. I am firmly convinced that it was never his intention to pay one dollar of the money offered; and indeed his plain intimations to that effect, made to me personally and directly, were the immediate reasons of my cutting the connexion as abruptly as I did. If you could, in any way, spare the time to come on to Philadelphia, I think I could put you in the way of detecting this villain in his rascality. I would go down with you to the office, open the drawer in his presence, and take the M S. from beneath his very nose. I think this would be a good deed done, and would act as a caution to such literary swindlers in future. What think you of this plan? Will you come on? Write immediately in reply.

Mr. Carey’s book on slavery was received by me not very long ago, and in last month’s number I wrote, at some length, a criticism upon it, in which I endeavored to do justice to the author, whose talents I highly admire. But this critique, as well as some six or seven others, were refused admittance into the Magazine by Mr. Burton, upon his receiving my letter of resignation. [I] allude to the number for June — the one last issued. I fancy, moreover, that he has some private pique against Mr. Carey (as he has against every honest man) for not long ago he refused admission to a poetical address of his which I was anxious to publish.

Herewith you have my Prospectus. You will see that I have given myself sufficient time for preparation. I have every hope of success. As yet I have done nothing more than send a few Prospectuses to the Philadelphia editors, and it is rather early to strike — six months in anticipation. My object, at present, is merely to call attention to the contemplated design. In the meantime be assured that I am not idle — and that if there is any impossibility about the matter, it is the impossibility of not succeeding. The world is fond of novelty, and in being absolutely honest, it shall be utterly novel.

If you would show the Prospectus to Mr. Carey, or any other editorial friend, when you have done with it, I would be obliged to you.

Touching my Tales, you will scarcely believe me when I tell you that I am ignorant of their fate, and have never spoken to the publishers concerning them since the day of their issue. I have cause to think, however, that the edition was exhausted almost immediately. It was only six weeks since that I had the opportunity I wished of sending a copy to Professor Wilson, so as to be sure of its reaching him directly. Of course I must wait some time yet for a notice, — if any there is to be.

Yours most truly
E A Poe

P.S. If you would enclose me Burton’s letter to yourself, I will take it as an especial favor.


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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. E. Snodgrass (LTR095/RCL240)