Text: Daniel Bryan to Edgar Allan Poe — August 4, 1842


Alexandria D. C. Aug. 4, 1842

My dear Sir

I feel equally surprised and indignant at the conduct of the wretch by whom the sanctity of my letter to you was invaded: and, while I desire to exercise charity in relation to Mr. Griswold in this matter, I cannot abstain from the indulgence of a suspicion that there has been at least a culpable disregard by him of our rights and of honourable principle in his connivance at the perpetration of this act of baseness; or in his failure to communicate to you the fact of the existence of such a letter, with explanation of the circumstances connected with the invasion of its seal and the removal of its enclosures. —

Although, from his own shewing, he knew the letter was there, and that it had contained M. S. verses; yet, if he is capable of becoming an accessory to the conduct of the principal [[principle]] in this matter, he would make up a plausible tale to exonerate himself from all blame in relation to it, and it would probably be impossible to obtain proof of the fallacy of his story. — He may not have been much to blame in the affair — but my present impressions implicate him in its guilt as, at least, an “accessory” after the fact.” — We have been grossly injured by this violation of our correspondence & the crime deserves a signal punishment; but it may be prudent for us to let it pass without exposure. — You have been more egregiously wronged than myself, — and I pretend not to dictate the course for you to pursue concerning your grievance. On this point you are the best judge. — If, however, I may be permitted to advise you on the subject, I wd [[would]] recommend that you make discretion and your interest your counselors in the case, and that you be guided by their dictates. —

There were some things in my letter which, uttered, as they were in confidence of friendship, I regret should have been exposed to Griswold’s eye; — but as far as I am concerned, I feel no delicacy now about a divulgement of the whole transaction; — yet, looking to your interests, especially in connexion with your anticipated literary movements, it appears to me probably, that, unless prompted to make developments by circumstances of which I am not aware, a silent acquiescence in the wrong, at least for the present, may be judicious. —

As respects the mutilation of the “second leaf” of my letter, I am not sure that it did not take place in consequence of some accident before it left my own hands. — Is there any break in the continuity of the sense where the severance occurs? If there is, the mutilation did not happen with me — and the guilt of the violater of the letter is deepened by the dismemberment of my comn. —

Enclosed I send you a letter for Mr. Graham which you can either hand to him, or forward through the P. O. — there were transmitted with my letter of the 13th of May three sets of verses — The May Queen’s Address — The coronation address by 1st Maid of Honour — and an address by 1st Goddess. This letter covered one of the poems, and the other two were contained in a separate franked, & sealed envelope.

I send herewith 3 Nos. of the Independent — in each of which you will find some allusion to Mr. Griswold’s book.

I have no means of ascertaining the authors of the articles in question. I shall be happy to hear from you when you find it convenient to favour me with a letter.

With high respect
I am very faithfully yr. Friend
Danl. Bryan

What think you of the article signed J. H. S.? Are you acquainted with Judge Conrad, Dr. Mitchell, and other writers therein — assailed, and what justice is there in the cursing of J. H. S. Can you find out the writer of Flash or the productions to wh[[ich]] he refers as “attacks on yr. Literary character?”

I will take into consideration yr suggestion with regard to the publication of the critique through Mr. Dow or Mr. Thomas. Not having any personal or epistolary acquaintance with either of them, I feel some hesitation about the introduction of the subject to them. The index too, the only paper in wh[[ich]] the crititque wd [[would]] probably find a place here — has but a very limited circulation, & but a slender reputation at a distance. But I will think of the matter. If I knew any distant editor who wd be likely to exercise independence in the case, I wd prefer sending the article to him. I must not be suspected of having anything to do with it. —



This letter is addressed: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq. [[/]] Phila” and postmarked “Alexandria, D. C. [[/]] Aug 4.” It is franked “Free Dan‘l Bryan [[/]] P. M.”


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - D. Bryan to Poe (RCL385)