Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Frederick W. Thomas — February 3, 1842 (LTR-132)


Philadelphia Feb. 3, ‘42.

My dear Friend:

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. But to-day the prospect brightens, and I trust that this bitter cup of misery will not be my portion. I seize the first moment of hope and relief to reply to your kind words.

You ask me how I come on with Graham? Will you believe it Thomas? 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; he cannot help knowing it, for the fact is rung in his ears by every second person who visits the office, and the comments made by the press are too obvious to be misunderstood.

The project of the new Magazine still (you may be sure) occupies my thoughts. If I live, I will accomplish it, and in triumph. By the way, there is one point upon which I wish to consult you. 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, perhaps even to take an interest in something of the kind — an interest either open or secret?” 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? Provided I am permitted a proprietary right in the journal, I shall not be very particular about the extent of that right. If, instead of a paltry salary, Graham had given me a tenth of his Magazine, I should feel myself a rich man to-day. When he bought out Burton, the joint circulation was 4,500, and we have printed of the February number last, 40,000. Godey, at the period of the junction, circulated 30,000, and, in spite of the most strenuous efforts, has not been able to prevent his list from falling. I am sure that he does not print more than 30,000 to-day. His absolute circulation is about 20,000. Now Godey, in this interval, has surpassed Graham in all the externals of a good Magazine. His paper is better, his type far better, and his engravings fully as good; but I fear I am getting sadly egotistical. I would not speak so plainly to any other than yourself. How delighted I would be to grasp you by the hand!

As regards the French — get into a French family by all means — read much, write more, & give grammar to the dogs.

You are quizzing me about the autographs. I was afraid to say more than one half of what I really thought of you, lest it should be attributed to personal friendship. Those articles have had a great run — have done wonders for the Journal — but I fear have also done me, personally, much injury. 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. I would not have yielded had I thought it made much difference what one said of such puppets as these, but it seems the error has been made to count against my critical impartiality. Know better next time. Let no man accuse me of leniency again.

I do not believe that Ingraham stole “Lafitte.”

No, Benjamin does not write the political papers in the “New World,” but I cannot say who does. I cannot bring myself to like that man, although I wished to do so, and although he made some advances, of late, which you may have seen. He is too thoroughsouled a time-server. I would not say again what I said of him in the “Autography.”

Did you read my review of “Barnaby Rudge” in the Feb. No.? You see that I was right throughout in my predictions about the plot. Was it not you who said you believed I would find myself mistaken?

Remember me kindly to Dow. I fear he has given me up; never writes; never sends a paper.

Will you bear in mind what I say about R. Tyler?

God bless you. Edgar A. Poe.
F. W. Thomas.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to F. W. Thomas (LTR132/RCL356)