Text: William J. Pabodie, “Poe and the English Periodicals,” New-York Daily Tribune, vol. XII, whole no. 3,475, p. 6, bottom of col. 6. - p. 7, top of col. 1.


[page 6, col. 6:]

Poe and the English Periodicals.

To the Editors of The N. Y. Tribune:

In an article on American Literature in The Westminster Review for April, and in one on Edgar A. Poe in Tait’s Magazine for the same month, we find a repetition of certain incorrect and injurious statements in regard to the deceased author, which should not longer be suffered to pass unnoticed. These statements have circulated through half a dozen foreign and domestic periodicals, and are presented with an ingenious variety of detail. As a specimen, we take a passage from Tait, who quotes as his authority Doctor Griswold’s memoir of the Poet:

“Poe’s life, in fact, during the three years that yet remained to him, was simply a repetition of his previous existence, notwithstanding which his reputation still increased, and he made many friends. He was, indeed, at one time, engaged to marry a lady who is termed ‘one of the most brilliant women in New-England.’ He, however, suddenly changed his determination; and, after declaring his intention to break the match, he crossed the same day into the city where the lady dwelt, and, on the evening that should have been the evening before the bridal, ‘committed in drunkenness such outrages at her house as made necessary a summons of the police.’ ”

The subject is one which cannot well be approached without invading the sanctities of private life; and the improbabilities of the story may, to those acquainted with the parties, be deemed an all-sufficient refutation. But, in view of the rapidly increasing circulation which this story has obtained, and the severity of comment which it has elicited, the friends of the late Edgar A. Poe deem it an imperative duty to free his memory from this unjust reproach, and oppose to it their unqualified denial. Such a denial is due, not only to the memory of the departed, but also to the lady whose home is supposed to have been desecrated by these disgraceful outrages.

Mr. Poe was frequently my guest during his stay in Providence. In his several visits to the City I was with him daily. I was acquainted with the circumstances of his engagement, and with the causes which led to its dissolution. I am authorized to say, not only from my personal knowledge, but also from the statements of ALL who were conversant with the affair, that there exists not a shadow of foundation for the stories above alluded to.

Mr. Poe’s friends have no desire to palliate his faults, nor to conceal the fact of his intemperance — a vice which, though never habitual to him, seems, according to Dr. Griswold’s published statements, to have repeatedly assailed him at the most momentous epochs of his life. With the single exception of this fault, which he has so fearfully expiated, his conduct, during the period of my acquaintance with him, was invariably that of a man of honor and a gentleman; and I know that, in the hearts of all who knew him best among us, he is remembered with feelings of melancholy interest and generous sympathy.

Events followed each other so rapidly toward the close of his romantic career, the relations of his life were so strangely complicated, the jealous [page 7, col. 1:] devotion of his friends and the inveterate dislike of his enemies gave rise to such various and conflicting statements, that the task of his biographer could have been no easy or enviable one. In view of these difficulties, (notwithstanding the ability with which Dr. Griswold has accomplished his arduous duty as the memorialist of this most eccentric and gifted man,) correctness of statement in regard to the recent events of Poe's life can hardly be looked for.

We understand that Dr. Griswold has expressed his sincere regret that these unfounded reports should have been sanctioned by his authority; and we doubt not, if he possesses that fairness of character and uprightness of intention which we have ascribed to him, that he will do what lies in his power to remove an undeserved stigma from the memory of the departed.


Providence, June 2, 1852.





[S:1 - NYDT, 1852] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Poe and the English Periodicals (W. J. Pabodie, 1852)