Text: Frederick W. Thomas to Edgar Allan Poe — August 30, 1841


Washington, August 30th, 1841.

My Dear Poe, — I have been indisposed for some time, which prevented my writing to you, as I had nothing to communicate, and the exercise of my pen was painful.

I wrote you that I saw Kennedy and that he expressed his willingness to aid you in any way in his power. Sure I have conversed with the President’s sons about you — they think the president will be able and willing to give you a situation, but they say, and I felt the truth of the remark before it was made, that at the present crisis when everything is “hurlyburly “ it would be of no avail to apply to him. He is much perplexed, as you may suppose amidst the conflicting parties, the anticipated cabinet break up, etc.

As soon as times get a little more quiet I will wait on the President myself and write you of the interview. Your cryptography makes quite a talk here. Hampton tells me he had quite a demand for your August number containing it. I send you enclosed a letter from my friend Frailey on the matter of his communication. The enclosed secret writing in figures is from Chief Clerk of the Treasury, a gentlemanly, clever fellow. It is totally unlike the cryptography you speak of, but he handed it to me, with the remark that you could not make the remotest guess of what it meant. Of that I am satisfied myself — for the idea is as foreign to the plan you discuss as can be. He requested me to send it to you, saying that it was impossible for you to surmise anything about it — and I send it to you satisfied of the truth of his remark. I fear I bore you on the subject-but really you have no idea of the talk it makes here.

I wish that you would send me by return mail the August and July numbers of your magazine. I am particularly anxious to have them forthwith. Don’t fail me in this point.

Poe, let me hear from you as soon as you get this, write me a long letter and tell me how literature flourishes in the brotherly city. My respects to your wife and mother.

Your friend,
F. W. Thomas.


This is Mr. Young’s — the chief clerk’s secret writing — of course as it has not the remotest analogy with your proposed cryptography — we do not expect you to decypher it — but can you surmise anything about it — that’s the point.

F. W. T.

Write me as soon as you get this and send me the Magazine — don’t fail me.

Poe, I have a song that has been set to a very pretty tune, by a gentleman here. I would like to have it published, and will give it to any music publisher who would undertake it. Can you manage it for me? My song of “absence” sold remarkably well — and I think this would sell as well. Will you make some inquiry with regard to the publishing it for me and oblige your friend

F. W. Thomas.



Mr. Young was McClintock Young (see Poe in Philadelphia, p. 256).


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - F. W. Thomas to Poe (RCL323)