Text: George W. Eveleth to Edgar Allan Poe — July 3, 1849


Really, I was glad to hear from you, though thus “late” — I had begun to think that you might have decided it to be trifling to notice your humble friend away back in Maine.

I acknowledge that “it is wisest to make ourselves acquainted with ascertained facts and established doctrines before theorizing” upon any topics — however, those that are the most ignorant are ever the most ready to be conjuring up theories; of course I would not be an exception to this rule — se hypothesis inclosed.

Frankly, “Eureka” impresses me as every poem, rightly so called, impresses me — as a consistency, and therefore, as a truth. I am a full believer in dreams such as this. I am glad it is accomplishing what you intimate that it is. Notwithstanding this my indorsement of its general principles, there are points nevertheless which are not settled entirely to my satisfaction. For one example, “the stars of those times, from being fewer, will be larger, etc.” These bodies, these monstrous masses, you are going to have rush into an embrace to form a homogeneous mass — one Particle merely by the force of gravitation. Now, I can hardly conceive of such a union’s taking place without the aid of chemistry and cohesion — in order for the action of which, those masses must first be separated into atoms. This, no doubt, you will pronounce a Tit-mouse criticism, and perhaps rightly. The truth is, I have no business to offer an opinion upon “Eureka” without studying it more than I have; so I’ll say not another word about it at present.

From what little I had learned of Draper, I was rather inclined to put him down as one who was too ready to overlook things which did n’t happen to hit his nose, considering them of no account; still it would be far from me to call him “a pompous nobody,” as I suppose it would be from yourself when serious.

There is being published in Holden’s Magazine a work entitled “Autobiography of a Monomaniac, or the veritable and surprising adventures of James Toddlebar — “Edited by Joe Bottom”. I suppose the hero and his editor are one — he is no fool, although he would >>try to<< make us believe that he is. I surmised that you might be this same autobiographer and his editor united.

Speaking of you, the editor in a note says — “I should like to have seen his (Toddlebar’s) opinons of the “Raven” and “Ullahana”, the two most remarkable poems ever published on this continent.” — and “ — since the days of Shelly [[Shelley]], no man, dead or alive, has written a poem of half the artistical merit of Ullahana.” — This is what made me suppose you might have written a poem called “Ullahana.”

I like your poem — “For Annie” — can’t tell what makes me like it — it is simple, almost childish; but it is beautiful in its simplicity. I saw it before you sent <it> to me, in the Flag of Our Union, published as original. How happens it that Willis gives it as sent by a friend? — I have seen also your other articles, prose and verse, in the “Flag” — Why do you write for that cheap-literature broadsheet? — does the publisher pay you well? —

I do not often see “The Literary World”. — never have seen any except some numbers while at Brunswick. In one of those numbers >>was<< is a notice of “Eureka.” I have seen your reply to this notice, published in the “Sunday Dispatch” (”Weekly Universe”) I can’t help thinking that both notice and reply were intended to pull wool over the eyes.

“The Stylus” has led me a good many “wild goose chases.” I have hardly known what to think with regard to it. Some times I have believed that you were connected with Holden’s Magazine, and that it was all the “Stylus” I should ever see. Again, I have thought that “Holden” might be a kind of an instrument with which you were feeling the pulse of the public, biding your time (perhaps waiting for an International Copy right) to strike with “The Stylus.” Somehow, amidst all my unsettled conjurings, I have pitched upon next winter as the time when there would be some thing done. It has seemed to me that you, yourself and the other Literati of your City, were bending your energies to accomplish something for the cause of American Literature, at that xxince, thro’ Congress, and otherwise. It may be all fancy, but it ought not to be. I think. — Truly; I would be glad to have four fifths our newspapers exterminated, and one fourth of the same number of such works as Silliman’s Journal, the American Review, and >>such<< a “Stylus” such as you could get up, take their places. I have been at work in my State, for more than a year, hoping to aid in bringing about such a result. My efforts, I think, have not been entirely useless, though they have not yet amounted to much, because I have had to act alone, and without the encouragement of those who ought to have encouraged me, Mr Whelpley of the Am. Review can tell you, if he will, something about my manner of working. See, by the inclosed, what I am at just now. I am in hopes of getting the names of the members of our Board of Education, of a good part or our Sup. School Committees, and of our Teachers to the petition so as to present it to Congress at its next session. Look over the matter, you that are interested in it, and write me whether or not you would encourage me to proceed.

While at Brunswick, I read the article on American Periodicals in Blackwood’s Magazine — also the articles on Copyright — They set me to thinking.

Too, I purchased and perused “The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation” — Putnam’s edition of it, containing the review from the “North British,” and the sequ [[here, the letter breaks for the address panel, resuming towards the bottom of the page]]

I read the review of the original work in “Blackwood”, the paper in Am. Review attempting to fix the authorship upon Taylor of Scotland, and the review of the sequel by Mr. Whelpley in Am. Review — then I got “Eureka” and brought it alongside — then I scratched my head, rubbed my temples, and cogitated. —

Hope to hear from you soon —

Geo. W. Eveleth

Phillps, Me. July 3, — 49 —



The letter is addressed: “Edgar A. Poe. Esqr. [[/]] New York City [[/]] N/ Y.” and postmarked “Phillips [[/]] July 4 [[/]] Maine” with a paid stamp of “10” and the initials “G. W. E.”


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - G. W. Eveleth to Poe (RCL807a)