Text: John H. Hopkins, Jr. to Edgar Allan Poe — May 15, 1848


Gen. Theol. Sem. May 15, 1848.

My dear Sir,

On glancing over your MS. The other day at Mr. Putnam’s, I perceived that you had added a new development of your ideas. After the closing the magnificent and sublime >>idea<< <thought> of a new universe springing into existence at every throb of the Divine heart, (a passage at which my humble judgment, the work should end,) you go to explain the Divine heart as being our own, and then lay down a system of complete and pure pantheism.

Now I do not intend to object to this on theological grounds at present, for that would lead me into an almost interminable discussion, besides being out of place in me. But I think that on further reflection you will see that scientifically it is unsound, and contradictory of other parts of your theory.

1st. You do not deny I suppose that God is Infinite. Yet you make the primary irradiation of matter limited both in time and in extent - How can infinity resolve itself, or diffuse itself or expand itself into finity? If God is infinite, and the whole deity exists now only under the form of the Universe, the irradiation must have been infinite in time & extent also, and this very assumption would destroy your whole discovery. That Postscript of pantheism seems to me to be a scientific suicide.

2nd. But this is not all. You know well that the great body of Christians regard pantheism as a damnable heresy, if not worse. Such a brand would be a blight upon your book, which not every your genius could efface, and your great discovery would at once be ranked by the majority among the vain dreams of skepticism and the empty chimaeras of infidelity. If published as it now stands, I should myself be compelled to attack that part of it, for I could not in conscience do otherwise. And yet I believe you are convinced that I wish well both to you and your great work.

It is not a natural and scientific development, which is necessary for the completeness of your great idea: it seems to me but an excrescence which requires to be lopped off; and I beg, both for the sake of your own reputation as well as for that of the good reception of the Eureka, that you will aprdon my freedom, act upon my advice, and forgive the bold impertinence I have been guilty of in presuming to offer it.

Yours respectfully,
Jno H. Hopkins, Jr.

Edgar A. Poe, Esqr.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - J. H. Hopkins, Jr. to Poe (RCL706)