Text: Unknown to Edgar Allan Poe — October 11, 1845


Editorial Miscellany


WE MAKE room, with much pleasure, for the following explanation:

To the Editor of the Broadway Journal:

SIR — A copy of your Journal dated October 4th, was handed me this evening, containing some observations respecting alterations made in the song of Ben Bolt, to which some music was adapted by J. P. Webster. The facts were as follows. The song was in a New-Haven paper, and came into my hands as an envelope. It was without signature or reference of any kind, to the author. I was pleased with the poetry, and gave it to Mr. Webster, as he said he would compose some music for it. Before he had completed it, he lost the copy, and asked if I could give him another from memory. The words published were written down by two or three persons, as no one remembered the whole. As Mr. W. Did not know the author’s name, he could not of course give it. But from what I know of him, I am certain that no thoughts of claiming the authorship ever crossed his mind; and what may so appear in the publication, is the result of carelessness.

Having been (though indirectly) the cause of the censure cast upon Mr. Webster, I felt bound to make this statement, which I doubt not you will have the justice to publish. I am ready to give satisfactory reference, if you require it.

Respectfully yours,   E. S.

Derby, Conn, October 11, 1845.



This letter was printed in the Broadway Journal for October 25, 1845 2:248. It is a reply to an article published under the heading of “Miscellany” in the Broadway Journal for October 4, 1845 2:198-199. This article is unsigned, but Poe wrote his initial “P” on it in the set of the BJ that he gave to Sarah H. Whitman. The article accused Joseph P. Webster of plagiarizing the words of “Ben Bolt” from Thomas Dunn English. In part of the article, Poe states, “Now, in the name of the craft of authors we protest against such impudent thieving as this.”


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - Unknown to Poe (RCL572a)