Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Puffing (Part II),” Columbia Spy, vol. 15, no. 31, November 30, 1844, p. 3, col. 2


[page 3, column 2, continued:]

PUFFING — No. 2.

In an article under this caption, we last week pointed out the ruinous effects of the policy pursued by certain of our country editors, of praising indiscriminately individuals connected with newspapers and periodicals in Philadelphia and other cities. We proved conclusively, we think, the evil resulting to country editors from an undue indulgence in the habit; that it militates against the standing of the country presses; that it lessens their influence at home and abroad; that it cripples their enterprise, and utterly unqualifies them to bear up under the heavy competition, which, through the puffing of steam presses, the puffing of their own allies, and the continual and unceasing puffing of country editors, the city press are enabled to bring down upon us! We stated, too, that it is an evil by which many of the people have suffered, and of which they have just cause to complain. As long as country editors continue to recommend such papers as we mentioned last week to their friends, in preference to their own — as long as they continue to fill up their papers with prospectuses of papers inferior to their own — as long as they allow their journals to be the instruments of these literary humbugs, — so long will country papers be kept in their present condition. But if they resolve at once to remove this prop, whereby all these humbugs are supported — they must fall, and the conductors of country papers will receive that patronage which rightfully belongs to them. This is the only obstacle which has cramped the enterprise of country publishers — and it is the easiest thing in the world to remove it. We are satisfied that there is as much enterprise, tact, talent and ability employed on country papers as there is on those of the cities; but as long as this evil lies in the way, it would be useless to invest any considerable amount of capital in any enterprise — and particularly in the publication of newspapers.

We are gratified that our remarks of last week, have been appreciated by many of our cotemporaries, both in and out of the city. We are gratified — because we spoke nothing but the truth — and advocated that which of right belongs to the success of country establishments.

Our esteemed cotemporary of the United States Gazette is the only one, we believe, that has objected to our remarks, & he has done so in a very indirect manner. He, no doubt, is aware of the benefits to be derived from newspaper puffing; and we are, therefore, not surprised at the manner in which he has been pleased to view our remarks. Instead of considering the evil complained of, however, he accuses us of “venting a little spleen” upon the writings of Joseph C. Neal, Esq., author of those extremely witty, extraordinary and astonishing papers, entitled “Charcoal Sketches”; and for the purpose of disqualifying our remarks, he quotes another editorial of ours, having no bearing whatever on the question, — calls out all his scholastic learning and eruditeness, and detects, what he terms, “a queer collocation of words to express ideas as singular.” Wonderful discovery! We are gratified, however, that the reading of the second article mollified the pain which, he says, he experienced in perusing the first. Had this not been the case, we doubt not but that that pain would have lost to the community one of the most distinguished members of the corps editorial!




This item was first attributed to Poe by Spannuth. In later years, it was rejected by T. O. Mabbott.



[S:1 - CS, 1844] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc. - Puffing (Part II)