Text: James R. Lowell to Edgar Allan Poe — December 12, 1844


Elmwood, Dec. 12, 1844.

My Dear Friend, — You will forgive me for not writing sooner & for writing so little now, when I tell you that I have been for some time keeping a printing office agoing at the rate of from eight to twenty pages a day. I am printing a volume of prose (in conversation form) about poets and everything else, [” Conversations on Some of the Old Poets”] & not having prepared my copy, am obliged to write & print at once. You will like some parts of the book and dislike others.

My object in writing this is to introduce you to my friend, Charles F. Briggs, who is about to start a literary weekly paper in New York & desires your aid. He was here a month or two since, & I took the liberty of reading to him what I had written about you & today I received a letter from him announcing his plan & asking your address. Not knowing it, & not having time to write him I thought that the shortest way would be to introduce you to him. He will pay & I thought from something you said in your last letter that pay would be useful to you. I also took the liberty of praising you to a Mr. Colton, who has written “Tecumseh” . . . . & whom I suspect, from some wry faces he made on first hearing your name, you have cut up. He is publishing a magazine & I think I convinced him that it would be for his interest to engage you permanently. But I know nothing whatever of his ability to pay.

I am not to be married till I have been delivered of my book; which will probably be before Christmas, & I shall spend the winter in Philadelphia. I shall only stop one night in New York on my way on. Returning I shall make a longer stay & shall of course see you. You will like Briggs & he will edit an excellent paper. Opposite, I write a note to him.

Yr. affectionate friend,
J. R. Lowell.

P. S. You must excuse me if I have blundered in recommending you to Colton. I know nothing of your circumstances save what I gleaned from your last letter, &, of course, said nothing to him which I might not say as an entire stranger to you. It is never safe to let an editor (as editors go) know that an author wants his pay. I was in hopes that I should have been able to revise my sketch of you before it appeared. It was written under adverse circumstances & was incomplete. If you do not like this method of getting acquainted, send Briggs your address. His is No. I Nassau St. I never wrote an introductory letter before & do not own a complete letter writer — so you must excuse any greenness about it.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - J. R. Lowell to Poe (RCL511)