Text: Orville James Victor (?), “Honor to Genius,” Cosmopolitan Art Journal (New York, NY), vol. 1, no. 3, March 1857, p. 83, cols. 2-3


[page 83, column 2, continued:]



IN the first number of this Journal, we referred to the fact, that the remains of Edgar A. Poe rested in their burying place, neglected by friends, and unmarked even by the plainest slab. The impropriety of such neglect of the man who had done so much for American Literature, impressed us as very great, and we could but suggest to all admirers of the genius of the poet the removal of the remains to Laurel Hill Cemetery, and the erection of a proper monument to his memory. The suggestion met with a quick response. A correspondent to the N. Y. Times, a lady we believe, signified her willingness to contribute liberally, and stated that a large sum could easily be raised. The Times endorsed the movement, and called for the formation of an Association, for the purpose of giving the matter due form and force. Mr. Willis, in one of his “Idle-wild Letters,” approved the scheme, and suggested General George P. Morris as Treasurer, at the same time paying a neat tribute to the memory of the dead poet.

This all promised well. But a writer in the “North American Review,” devoting an article to Mr. Poe, rejuvenated the grossest history of the man, and in a most cold, unfeeling manner, denied the propriety of any monument to his memory. This expression is not strange, coming from a review for which Mr. Poe, when living, entertained a great contempt, which he betrayed upon many occasions; but, after a man is dead and gone to his last account, it does not seem to us either Christ-like or decent to treasure up a hate, which would even deny the dead poet a grave-stone, to mark his resting-place. For our part — and we feel that the sympathy of tens of thousands is with us — we prefer to let the

“Dead Past bury its dead,” [column 3:]

and, covering the mortal, to pay the respect due to the transcendant genius, which shot across the heavens of our literature like a comet, leaving a luminous train to mark its passage. The man and his many deeds of the body are past away — let them sleep! but his genius is immortal; and, as befits its high estate, a noble monument should arise, reared by those who hold that immortal poet in decent reverence.

Many letters come to us proffering aid, and urging immediate action in the matter, by the Cosmopolitan Association, which first broached the subject. One correspondent says — (we quote his words to show something of the sympathy which exists in all sections for the poet-writer): “Waving all opinion, and with a sense of gratitude, we would become an active worker in the matter, by soliciting subscriptions for a suitable monument to cover the mortal remains of the poet and critic, whose genius so richly endowed our Literature. Let no mockery of the cold, heartless pietest deter us from prosecuting this matter: what though we cannot worship him while living — shall we cover him with contumely when dead?”

In answer to this widely expressed sympathy, and to give the movement proper form, we will cheerfully enter into the work, and become the agents of the public in the erection of a monument to Poe. All we desire is, that the public, and the subscribers of the Cosmopolitan, would make their wishes known, that, by their advice and suggestions, we may be able to decide upon the steps necessary to take in the consummation of the design. Those who take an interest in the matter, may write to our Actuary, C. L. Derby, Esq., directing to 348 Broadway, N. Y. In the next number of the Journal, we shall make known the steps decided upon, and open a way for subscriptions to the monument. May the Grace which presides over the American Muse, bless the effort to fittingly mark the last resting-place of one of her noblest worshippers!




Although unsigned, the article is probably the work of Orville James Victor (1827-1910), the editor of the magazine.



[S:0 - CAJ, 1857] - Honor to Genius Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Honor to Genius (O. J. Victor, 1857)