Text: Laughton Osborn to Edgar Allan Poe — October 1, 1845


Dear Sir:

A part of my MS (from P. 13 to P. 18 — both inclusive) is wanting. Will you have the goodness to look it up for me? It will spare me the labor of a re-transcript for which I am but poorly capable at present, for there have been certain liberties taken with the copy which I (who am as wise as yourself in that point — see your pithy note to the “Chambersburg Times”) wish to restore to its integrity. Besides, I like to keep all my MSS that have been printed from, and the loss or mutilation of the present would break the series. If you can find the title page you can much oblige me by adding it to the rest.

I enclose you two or three poems which you may like to have for your magazine. You must not and will not I am convinced from any feeling of delicacy hesitate to reject them if not suitable because I offer them absolutely without the least desire to extend my own reputation by their publication, but solely with the view of aiding you to make up the matter for your weekly sheet — for I know well that editors are often put to extra labor to accomplish that object. If you like I will follow the Series (in the sea wind remember) by certain specimens from the German Korner. If you publish the Italian sonnets I should wish the originals to accompany them; and I would prefer (as in all cases of translation) to superintend the proofs. If you decline them, they can be sent me, with the odd sheets of the Comedy by the Despatch. Attracted by the name of Prof. Wilson in one of the numbers of the Journal you lent me and recalling our conversation with regard to that Scottish Aristarchus, I read an article which I cannot err in assigning to your pen. How completely our tastes harmonize in matters of criticism! Singularly, because who is there else in this hemisphere at least who thinks of certain poets as you do, (as in fact would due to express his thoughts) but myself. Here now you said of Burns, exactly what I thought and been expressing in my narrow and obscure sphere, whenever the subject of his merits have been discussed for years. To see you thus triumphant in your general attack of all pseudo-critics and wretched bards is to see my own tastes astonished (if you will permit me to say so,) as well as the foundation (aid for true excellence in the literature of our native land;) and if you knew me as well as I could wish you did, you would believe in the sincerity of the desire I express to see you soon set on foot your greater magazine which I think will restore to their natural nothingness such reviews as —— but I may give offense perhaps to some of your partialities for I know that you commend the Helicon in Hot Weather of the American, in which one instance we do not harmonize, I assure you at all.

Faithfully, your very Obedient servant
Laughton Osborn

Edgar A. Poe, Esq.

Wednesday morning, Oct. 1, 45

O, for heaven’s sake don’t be-doctor me in future. I am no more entitled to the style than you are; then, if I were, I hold it in mortal detestation; and lastly, perhaps not least, it belongs to my youngest brother, — mistaking whom for me, by the bye, caused me to lose the enjoyment of your visit, and receive a barren card instead, when too I was never more in a mood to appreciate a visit from a man like yourself.



This letter is addressed: “Edgar A. Poe [[/]] 85 Amity Street.”

The MS referred to is probably for “The Magnetizer; or, Ready for Any Body,” a play in three acts which appeared in the Broadway Journal for September 6, 13, and 20 of 1845.

This letter is listed in Bangs Sale Catalogue, April 11, 1896, item 76. The text is given here from a transcript made by T. O. Mabbott when he owned the letter.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - L. Osborn to Poe (RCL572)