Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Laughton Osborn — August 15, 1845 (LTR-206)


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My Dear Mr. Osborn:

I am neither disposed, nor can I afford, to give up your friendship so easily; and, to preserve it, have no hesitation in overstepping the boundary-line of what is usually called editorial decorum.

In view of the public I am responsible for all that has appeared in “The Broadway Journal,” since the period when my name, as one of its editors, was placed upon its title-page. But, in fact, my connextion with the paper during the first six months of its existence, was simply that of contributor. With the making up of the journal — with the reception or rejection of communications — I had no more to do than yourself. The article to which you refer had never been seen by me until you pointed it out. It has the air of having been written by Mr. Benjamin himself.

I am happy in being able to re-assure you that whenever I have had occasion to speak of “The Vision of Rubeta,” I have borne testimony to its high merits. Your “Confessions of a Poet” I read many years ago, with a very profound sentiment of admiration for its author, and sympathy with what I supposed his real rather than his fictitious experiences — although until the receipt of your letter, I had been attributing the work to John Neal. In one or two instances I have written warmly in its defence — . I cannot understand how you can fail to perceive, intuitively, that I should appreciate your works. I did not doubt, for an instant, that you would place a proper estimate [page 2:] upon mine. You will at least see that I am frank.

It is quite a coincidence that, although Halleck is the only poet of whom we both spoke cordially in approbation, on the night when I saw you, I should in his case also have been subjected to just such misconception as arose in your own. Some months ago there appeared in the “Broadway Journal” a very malevolent and flippant attack on “Alnwick Castle,” and this attack (since I had been known to write previous criticisms on poetical works, for the Journal) was universally attributed to me — and even Halleck himself was misled — although in two biographies, and at least half a dozen long critiques — to say nothing of a public lecture — I had uniformly treated him with respect. Nevertheless — for the sake of that “editorial courtesy” which I now violate, and by which I shall never consent to be bound again, I endured the loss of Mr. Halleck’s good will, until by mere accident, he discovered that the offensive article had been written by a brother poet, Lowell, at the malicious instigation of my former associate, Mr. Briggs — Mr. Lowell especially requesting of Mr. B. that the critique should not have the name of its author appended (as was usual with us in all cases of communication) but appear editorially — although he well knew that the odium would inevitably fall upon myself. — I hope you will see that you have been hasty. I hope this, because I am sincerely anxious that we shall continue friends.

With high respect and esteem,
Edgar A. Poe.


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Notes:

Hypenation: “esti- [page 2:] mate”.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to L. Osborn (LTR206/RCL560)