Text: Frederick W. Thomas to Edgar Allan Poe — May 11, 1841 (dated April)


Washington April 11th 1841.

My Dear Poe —

Yours of April 1st I duly received. I regret in these hard times for us scribblers that I could not make arrangements with your publisher for the periodical publication of the novel proposed, but of course he is the best judge of what will most advance his Magazine — I would not write you until I could send you a contribution, which I do herewith. A gentleman of address, if not of character (as I believe I wrote you) did me the honor to borrow feloniously my coat with an hundred and ten dollars in it — This has shortened my finances[[.]] I therefore hope that you will jog your friend Graham’s memory should it be needful (which it will not be from what I understand of him) upon the matter of making me a remittance for it as soon as convenient — do have the proof sheets connected closely — I think you will like it. As you say that you “are sure Graham that Graham [[sic]] would be happy to have a detached tale or sketch from me” &c I send it to him, and refer to you —

you ask me what I am doing? Why I have been lecturing upon “oratory”. “The early Struggles of Eminent men” &c, all for glory — And if you wish to see how I am glorified, just refer, will you to the National Intelligencer of May 10th. I shall stay here for some months longer — I wish to witness a session of Congress and see the Magnates of the land — who strange to say are more attractive in the distance — Poe I have seen “characters” here in two months which to a scribbler is worth two years hard study in the closet — by the bye you are a shabby fellow — Do you think by Jove! that I thought you, with your comments upon the “best pens” as old Tomson used to say, of such severity were to get over “Howard Pinckney” with out “abusing it” — No sir, and be it known to you that I consider this no good reason in th eye of friendship why you should not notice it — Better be damned &c — Don’t you know that to be before the public is the thing — Poe I don’t like that and that’ flat —

Since the bank affair in Philadelphia I have received a discouraging letter with regard to publishing at present from my publishers — and this will prevent my seeing you as soon as I hoped — My poem I am very anxious to publish — as I do not expect to make anything by it, but some accession of reputation from what you and Prentice say of it. I am desirous of getting it out — My present plans are to stay eastward until fall, get my books out and then depart for New Orleans there to practice law — Speaking of law reminds me of your tale: “The murders in the Rue Morgue” and your wish to know how I like it in “my capacity of a lawyer” — I will speak frankly, and without flattery I thin it the most ingenious thing of the kind on record — It is wonderful — I do not know what in the Devil to make of your intellectuals. I like your criticism on “Night and Morning” though I have not read the book — yet your remarks upon Bulwer strike me as correct — [[I re]]ad in our exchange paper yesterday [[at th]]e Madisonian office your criticism [[on]] Barnaby Rudge — I am not so certain about that — I have not read anything of Barnaby — You say Imagination is the great faculty of Boz — maybe so. I must read Barnaby —

Poe don’t forget that Henry Clay said that at the extra session of Congress he meant to bring up the Copy right law — Are you not going to give an editorial on the subject — Do prick the Senator’s memory and I will have the article copied here — I think when Congress meets that your humble servant will lecture on the subject —

Our friend Dow has been removed from office. I am more than sorry for it — It is though what he ought to have expected for he could not keep his pen from wandering into politics — But this prescription for opinions sake is contrary to the spirit of our government — Dow has a wife and three children, will soon have a fourth, and yet he bears up like a man — He has even quit hard cider since his removal, and stimulates only with tea and coffee — He boards next door to me. I see him daily. We walk often together and I do not think we have ever taken a walk without speaking of you —

Poe you must remember me most affectionately to your wife and mother — Tell Mrs Clem[[m]] that my mother and sisters often speak of her.

I live in the hope of seeing you out in “The Penn” yet — Can I be of service to you here? Have you seen “specimens of Western Literature”? The work is edited by Gallagher — He puts all his pieces in it — and seven of your humble servants poorest — He’s a modest man now ain’t he by the “foot of Pharoh” so Captain Bobadil says — I have not seen the book — I hear this from a friend — Write me as soon as you get this.

Your friend
F. W. Thomas





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - F. W. Thomas to Poe (RCL283)