Text: Frederick W. Thomas to Edgar Allan Poe — May 12, 1845


Washington   May 12  1845.

My dear Poe —

The above writing in cypher with the note appended was handed to me by my friend Doctor Fraily with the request that I would get you to see if there was anything in it — At your earliest leisure (as it may be a matter of importance) will you do me the favor to let me know what it means. I shall feel obliged to you, Poe if you will attend to this as soon as convenient.

Your letter of May 4th gave me great pleasure. Dow left here some days since for New York, and you have, I presume, ere this seen him. Make my compliments to him. I am glad you have embarked in the editorial way again and I think you for the journal and the “Raven.” I trust to see you this summer, for I hope to get leave of absence for a month when I shall certainly wend towards New York. What does Dow say for himself? You will have observed that he has a great many irons in the fire, and truly he has a very dexterous way in handling them.

Do you ever see Willis? Make my kindest regards to him when you do? What has become of Park Benjamin? and Thomas Dunn English where be he?

A friend, who takes the new journal (I forget the name of it) which contains a likeness (an admirable one) of John Quincy Adams, lent me his copy and I thought there was much talent in it — don’t you think so. What kind of a chap is “Briggs your Associate” — Is he a clever fellow — I have heard he was. Do you ever hear anything of Ingraham of “Burton” Memory — I have no idea of his whereabouts —

I wish, Poe, I could see you — It is so long since I have had any of the right sort of chat that it would be a great luxury. Did I inform you, by the bye, that I had quite wine, and almost women. I have as I am an honest man — and I go on daily improving — My friends prophecy that if I hold on I shall be in the pulpit yet. What do you think of that Poe — I write in haste as I am anxious to send this Cypher by this mail — Decypher it for me, Poe, and let me hear from you about it. My kindest regards to your Lady and Mrs. Clemm — Compliments to Dow —

Yours Sincerely,
F. W. Thomas

Edgar A. Poe, Esq.

New York.  



At the top of the first page, written along one side of the page, is the following note:

The subjoined piece of secret writing was received at the Genl. Land Office in connection with a letter having relation to a claim for bounty land due a soldier, which letter was without address on its face, but from other evidence appeared designed for a person out of office. Will you be pleased when you next write to E. A. Poe, Esqr. send this to him for a translation which (from the ready manner in which he on a previous occasion decyphered an attempt of mine of a similar character) I have no doubt he can readily do. Present him my best respects at the same time.

C. S. F.

The cypher is also attached.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - F. W. Thomas to Poe (RCL536)