Text: William M. Griswold, “[Section 02],” Passages from the Correspondence and Other Papers of Rufus W. Griswold, Cambridge, MA: W. M. Griswold, 1898, pp. 56-108


[page 56, continued:]

New York, Feb. 9, [1841].

Rufus W. Griswold, Esq. — Dear Sir,

I hasten to answer your favor of Sunday. I am quite willing that you should use my pieces in the preparation of your work, and I leave [page 57:] you to select such as you like best having full confidence in your ability to prepare such a book with honor to yourself and to the authors whose productions you propose to collect. When I can find time, I will give you my views concerning those offerings which I think less poor than others, and you can be guided by my taste or not, as you please. — If you wish a memoir I will send you such information as may be necessary and available.

As you speak about portraits and some time ago spoke to me about letting you have that taken by Harding, I surmise that you may wish mine; if you do, pray don’t think of using Harding’s; there is a far better one, just taken, from which Dick or Prudhomme could make an excellent engraving.

I have not received the Naval and Military Magazine. I doubt not the Sketch will be quite good for us to publish: — and I will have the two pictures you mention engraved for the New World by Butler immediately, provided the $50 be immediately forwarded. As we are making headway in getting out a second Leviathan sheet, the sketch and the pictures shall appear in that as well as regular paper, — provided the Magazine and money be forwarded within a week’s time.

I am very faithfully Yours,
Park Benjamin.

P. S. — We print 35,000 copies of Leviathan sheet.

The remark in the following letter about college graduates is probably the earliest version of Greeley’s famous saying, — the form in which it is best known being: “Of all horned cattle a college graduate is the worst.”

Greeley’s later opinion of Raymond, tho they remained together only a few years, was much higher than the one here expressed: “I had not much for him to do,” he wrote in 1867, “till the Tribune was started: then I had enough: and I never found another person, barely of age and just from his studies, who evinced so signal and such versatile ability in journalism as he did. Abler and stronger men I may have met; a cleverer, readier, more generally efficient journalist I never saw.” Raymond wrote: “I was with him less than four years, instead of eight, as he says: and though I did work, I believe, quite as hard during that time upon the Tribune as he now gives me credit for having done, I think I have worked still harder for a good many years since that time. But I certainly deserve no special credit for it in either case. I did it from no special sense of duty, — still less with any special aim or ambitious purpose. I liked it.” [page 58:]

New York, Feb. 90, 1841.

R. W. Gr.

You’ve heard, I reckon, of the chap who, after much terrible swearing, turned out of the road because the other fellow wouldn’t turn out for him. Well, his case is mine. I’ve waited a spell to hear from you, and now I write to persecute you into writing. However, take your own time for it, and write just when you have something to say and time to say it.

Gris, I’ll bet you a York shillin’ you’re sorry you left me. Cause why? Your paper don’t look as though it had the bump of payology very strongly developed, and the only principle that I have ever found you tenacious of is that of having your pay at least as fast as you earn it. Yet I’ve no doubt that it will be best for you in the end. Here you were a good deal a chimney comer man, while in P[hiladelphia] you see more of the great world, and live on a larger scale; and though you won’t do for a politician, and will damage yourself if you attempt it, yet you are rather tall in your own department of Literature, and Philadelphia is the place where you are needed. If the animals who run the Saturday Courier would secure your services as Editor, give you $1200 a year, and 100 dollars additional for every 1,000 increase on their subscription, they would do a wise thing. But then, if they get a million subscribers for a mean paper, who knows but they might run down if they printed a good one? Doubtless the children of this world are wiser than the children of light.

I suppose it is best for me, too, that you left me, but it has been hard to find out. My new hands were terribly raw. The most useless animal endued with the power of ratiocination, I will maintain, is a young man just out of college. Raym. is one of the best of his class, but that class is awful. He can write rather better than you can (though slovenly English and often on uninteresting themes) but he knows (or did know) nothing of the details of Editorship, nothing about making up a paper in the head before it is transferred to type, and has no judgment with regard to selections. There you are unrivaled; I was never afraid that you would down the paper unless by writing in it; but he catches up a pair of shears and dives into a pile of exchanges like a rat in a scrap-book, making his selections on about the same principle. O I have had a weary time of it! for my other man, Darlington, is dull and heavy, and neither of them delights in working over-hours. But things are looking better now. Both are learning what is to be done and how to do it; two proof-readers are better than one, — I mean to learn the [page 59:] art of condensation and the system of compiling a newspaper — and on the whole I am not sorry for the change.

The great beasts [“Brother Jonathan” and “New World”] murder me in the way of circulation. They make so much noise and bluster that they bully people into buying their trash if not reading it. Did you ever see more unmitigated humbugs than they now are in the general? Why do you puff them? Show me a valuable editorial in either of them! The Jonathan Is best of the two; but how can folks take thousands of The Quarto World and more of the Yankee folio? DS look through a file of the two and see If I am so grossly deceived.

Epes [Salient] you know, is out of the World, and now in your city, on his way to Washington. He was poked out, I guess, pretty much like another chap. They talk of selling a third of the Concern for some $5,000 or so. All is arranged except the purchaser and the funds. Them’s the chaps I haven’t seen yet. They profess to have made $5,000 the first year: then how is Epes ejected for not paying In his share of the capital Invested? But mum’s the word; whisper to no one. They mean to gag the world with their next double.

We are likely to sell the copyright of the Science of Numbers (I and Wedgewood) to the Harpers at what promises to be a remunerating price. We have sent on a few copies to try at your coming Trade-Sale. Now I want you to find out Just when this sale is to be, and directly before it send books to different Editors and get it noticed If possible. Manage this neatly for me, if you have to write the notices or cut them from old papers, and I’ll puff your book when it comes out.

My friend W. Falconer is coming out from Paris. I want to get him some employment. If he can produce a real good translation of the decent Songs of Beranger, don’t you think one of the Philadelphia Houses could be induced to publish them on fair terms? I know you don’t like him as an original writer, but he can translate, and you know It. Witness ‘The Midnight Review,’ ‘My Old Coat,’ etc. I wish you would sometime show these to somebody. Falc. would make a rich volume, of such a size as might be desired, pretty cheap. Think of it.

My candle Is out, paper ditto, and I fear I am too late to pay the postage — so I close without saying half. I must write again. My wife has a very severe illness.

Horace Greeley.

[page 60:]

New York, Feb. 26, 1841

My dear Gris:

I have twenty minutes before Mail-time, and fifty things to do, but I think I must devote them to answering your letter. And first, of Hosmer. I have no doubt he would be glad to do what you desire. If you prefer it, I will write to him, which will put the matter beyond doubt. But I presume you will have no difficulty if you write yourself. Command me in all things. If I could do any thing for your work, I would with pleasure. We have announced it; if you will send me a Prospectus I will publish it. Aren’t you going to have an appendix to your volume containing one or more pieces from such writers as may have casually written a good thing or so, but have no claim or desire to be considered Poets? Depend on it this will be better than to cram them into such company as yon must otherwise do. For instance, Edward Everett, J. Q. Adams, Flint, B. H. Wilde, A. H. Everett, etc., have written fair things; but to jumble them in with your Poets will be murder. Then you should have another compartment, consisting of a selection or two from the writings of promising young writers, who deserve something better than absolute neglect; but who do not deserve a biographical notice with selections. This might be in smaller type and merely refer to the place of birth, time of ditto, and residence of these bardlings. Wm. Wallace, Mrs. Esling, G. P. Morris, etc. (specimens of different classes) will not do 16 run into the body of your work; nor will it quite do not to know them. I recommend a middle course, as at once politic and just. Think of it.

Mind — have one or two classes; casual writers of fair verse; and persons aiming to be poets who have not quite accomplished it. Don’t attempt to mix them; you will offend the former and damage your work. Enough for this once, Gris, I mean that work of yours shall be the basis of fortune and fame for you. It must be not only good but in some respects original, to overbalance Cheever’s, and one or two other compilations. Perhaps you had better make another class of those who were once Poets, but by lapse of time and change of taste have ceased to be so regarded. Think.

Mind that your good Poets and Poetry, duly set off must come first, and make quite half your work. . .

You are displeased that I am not an applicant for office. I can’t help it. That road is too muddy now; it is thoroughly cut up with the throng of hungry travelers. I do not believe that even you would have respected me if I had been among them; certainly I could not have respected myself. I [page 61:] do not regard either Office or Money as the supreme good; and though I never had either, I have been so near to each as to see what they are worth very nearly. I regard principle and self-respect as more important than either. I could not have run around begging support for an application without doing myself what I despise and condemn in others; so I hold off. I wished to aid efficiently in carrying into execution the Retrenchment and Reform we promised; I have done, am doing, and will do it; I could not, had I been a candidate for office. I have asked nothing, and will have nothing, but not simply because I have not asked it; I might have obtained something perhaps, but it is better so. I will not have the world say that I have given hours that were needed for rest and for bread to the Whig cause with the expectation or design of getting office. I never thought of it. If the public shall ask why I am not an applicant, is not that better than though they should inquire why I am? Enough.

Don’t I rejoice at the passage of the cutting-down clauses in the General Appropriation Bill? Glory! I hope they will yet sweep every thing in proportion. If the Whigs won’t be honest, I trust the Tories will walk them right square up to the bull-ring.

As to ‘The Future’ — the great mistake on your part is that you do not begin to understand our system. You are [as] ignorant as a hoe-handle. Suppose you as editor, Grund as publisher, another good fellow as printer, a fourth as papermaker, etc., were to combine in a great newspaper establishment, each having his share of the profits according to his hours of labor, his capital and skill, couldn’t you work as heartily as though you were a hireling? You defy all common sense. Then about home. We propose that each man shall have his own exclusive home — not in the cellar or garret of some rich man’s edifice, but a good wholesome suite of rooms. DS understand what we propose before you attempt to proselyte.

H. Greeley.

We have Weed’s testimony that Greeley’s opinion of office-seeking at this time, was not expressed only in letters. “Viewed,” he writes, “in the light which subsequent years and events shed upon his character and conduct, my earlier impressions must have been erroneous, or the Horace Greeley of 1840 was not the Horace Greeley of 1870. For example: Up to and for several years after 1840, Mr. Greeley had no patience with and could not endure the importunity of office-seekers. His greatest annoyance after a successful election was that “office-beggars” (as he stigmatized [page 62:] them) bored him for letters to governors and presidents. The idea that men sought office as a reward for political service disgusted him.”

On the 19th of the month Greeley had written to Weed: “We have nothing new here in politics, but large and numerous swarms of office-hunting locusts sweeping on to Washington daily. All the rotten-hind speculators, and broken-bank directors, swindling cashiers, etc., are in full cry for office I office I and even so humble a man as I am is run down for letters! ‘None of your half-way things! Write strong!’ Curse their nauseous impudence! Some of them I give such a blessing as will stick in their crops these many days; some of them, God knows most reluctantly, I give letters for, because I can’t help it. I’ve a good mind to advertise in the “National Intelligencer” that all persons are forbid harboring or trusting office-seekers on my account after this date. Shall we never be rid of this infernal rush for spoils? My soul is sick of it.”


New York, Feb. 28, 1841.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., My dear Sir:

I have an opportunity tomorrow morning by Swain, and I write you a line on a subject that I overlooked in my last letter. It is this: I have heard that the professorship of chemistry, etc. is vacant in Jefferson Medical College of your City, while I have a friend whom I wish to see located in some northern city. I refer to Dr. Wm. H. Ellet, Prof, of Chemistry, etc., in the University of S. C. at Columbia, and who enjoys I think a good reputation. But of that I don’t pretend to judge. You know he is the husband of Mrs. Ellet, and she, I am confident, would prefer a more Northern location, and I don’t think the Doctor would object. He is a great favorite where he is, and a few years since his salary was raised unsolicited from $2,000 to $2,500. I think he would answer, even in fastidious Philadelphia. Now I wish when you can you would inquire about this professorship; whether vacant; who is spoken of for it; how much it pays; what steps are proper to place Prof. Ellet’s name favorably before the appointing power, etc. etc., and write me directly.

H. Greeley.

P. S. — Letter from Bowe; has been sick a month; I shall meet him in Albany on the 19th prox. My wife has had a hard time with the Varioloid, but is now nearly well. [page 63:]

The publication of ‘The Tribune’ was begun 10th April, 1841. “We never think of our old friend Horace Greeley,” wrote Clark in ‘The Knickerbocker,’ “or read his journal, which we do every day, without wishing that those distant editors who take the cue of their impressions from partisan or rival journals, could really see and know the man as he is; a man careless, it may be, of the style of his dress, preferring comfort to fashion, but yet of scrupulous cleanliness in person and habiliments always; possessing a benevolent heart, and ‘clothed with charity as with a garment;’ bestowing with a free hand to the truly needy and deserving, whether political friend or foe; frank and fearless in the expression of his opinions, whether such opinions are to be praised or execrated; of indefatigable industry, and unpretending, kindly manners — this is Horace Greeley. ‘We speak the things which we do know;’ for we have been acquainted some sixteen years; our printing-offices connect, and we meet almost every day. We were before Mr. Greeley in the literary field hereabout; remembering well the initial number of the ‘New-Yorker,’ his first venture.”

In reference to the separation of Greeley and Raymond, Parton wrote in 1864: “Greeley is not a born journalist . . . Raymond has the right notion of editing a daily paper, and when the Tribune lost him it lost more than it had the slightest idea of. However, Horace Greeley and Henry J. Raymond, the one naturally liberal, the other naturally conservative, the one a Universalist, the other a Presbyterian, — the one regarding the world as a place to be made better by living in it, the other regarding it as an oyster to be opened, and bent on opening it, — would have found it hard to work together on equal terms.” This view of Raymond’s character — that he was ready to sacrifice principle to policy, or that he had no principles to interfere with his advocating whatever course of action seemed likely to pay best — is not supported by anything in these early letters, nor by his apparent motives in resigning from Webb’s paper in 1851, or in opposing his party in 1867.


New York, Apr. 19, 1841.

Dear Sir:

It affords me pleasure to comply with your request, relying upon your own discretion as to the use you are to make of the catalogue. My first editorial article was written in March 1811, before I was nineteen years old, [in] the Valley of the Mohawk.

In the book line I wrote for the Canal Book, published by the Corporation of New York, in 1825, a history of the Great Pageant of October 1825, [page 64:] on the marriage of Lake Erie with the Ocean. About 100 pages quarto. In 1828 and ‘29, I wrote a history of the legislation of New York, and on the subject of the Erie and Champlain Canals, together with a historical account of Clinton’s removal by the Van Buren party from the Canal Board. About 60 pages, quarto, published in Hosack’s Life of Clinton. In 1832 I wrote a history of Freemasonry, and of the Great Anti-Masonic controversy, in a series of Letters to John Quincy Adams. This, is an impartial historical work, and was written at the suggestion of several distinguished gentlemen in Philadelphia; I vol. 8 vo. 660 pages. From 1829 to 1837 I wrote for several of the Annuals, English and American. In 1834 I published two volumes, entitled “Tales and Sketches, Such as They Are,” — “The Mysterious Bridal” and “Mercy Disborough,” [being] of pretty good length. The stories were generally historical and legendary. In 1835 I wrote and published the work entitled “Matthias and His Impostures.” The clergy say this work has done more to put down fanaticism than any other in the language. In 1838 I published a small satirical volume entitled “Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distinguished Gentleman.” This, although literally true as a biography, was intended as a satire upon the folly of parents In taking stupid boys from the plough and sending them to college. In 1838 It published the “Life of Brant, including the Border Wars of the Revolution,” 2 vols., 8 vo. Of this you need no information. In March 1841 I published a history of Wyoming, from the discovery to the year 1800. As a copy of this small but very beautiful volume has been sent to you, I need say nothing further concerning it. In addition to these I published further several occasional pamphlets.

Very truly yours,
William L. Stone.


Washington, D. C, April 28, 1841.


Perceiving by the March Number of the Knickerbocker, that you are “preparing for the press a volume of poetry, by native writers;” will you allow me to inquire of you whether, among the “specimens” it is intended to embrace, you have or purpose to have any from “Escalala; an American Tale?”

This may seem, and indeed is, not only an awkward but an odd question. It may serve to explain if not to excuse it, however, that it comes from the Author of the Work in question: which was written by me in poverty and sickness (the greater part of it when in jail for debt), and published, [page 65:] if I rightly remember, in 1824, in a small edition, by William Williams, Utica, N. Y. The small number published, in that inland place, coupled with the fact that on its appearance it was “damned with faint praise” by the North American Review, may have prevented it from ever having come under your notice, or perhaps, from having ever traveled as far as Philadelphia.

Had I reason to suppose that the Public had ever condemned the Work, I should be the last to endeavor to rake it from its obscurity. But the truth is, “the public” dd not and never did know anything about it. Faults, as a whole, it doubtless has; the greatest of which, perhaps, is that it is occupied with a story and a subject that do not and cannot be made to interest them. If, however, I can trust to the judgments of the late N. H. Carter and Solomon Southwick, Esq., as well as to those of Gen. Dearborn of Boston and the Hon. Lewis Cass, it contains some genuine poetic gems; such as would dd no discredit either to the humble author or to the poetic talent of his country. . .

Samuel B. Beach.


C. Tabor Congdon, writing, in 1879, of the periodicals of this period, has the following: — “There were two of the large weekly newspapers published In New York — ‘The [New] World’ and ‘Brother Jonathan’ — and both of them were well edited and well printed. Their general literary make-up was excellent . . . There must have been either bad management or some fatal discrepancy between the cost of manufacture and the price obtained, for these big sheets, with a similar one printed by George Roberts in Boston, disappeared.” It is singular that Mr. Congdon failed to remember the ‘New-Yorker.’

Times and Notion Office, Boston, Apr. 28, 1841.

Friend Griswold:

I hasten to answer your letter. I am glad that you have at length made up your mind to come with me, for I truly believe it will prove to be to your own interest as well as mine. I shall probably find some difficulty in freeing myself of the person now with me, but I will give him good and liberal notice, and will even go so far as to pay him something if he grumbles. I know it is for my Interest to make the change, and must therefore do it. I shall expect you will consider it a permanent berth, for I shall. I prefer you would commence on Saturday, May 8th, as about that [page 66:] time I commence work on the Quadruple Notion, and in that you can of course render me a great deal of assistance.

Truly Yours,
Geo. Roberts.

[Printed by permission of Mrs. J. T. Fields. ‘The Smiths’ were Seba Smith and his wife E . . [[sic]] Oaks (Prince) Smith.]

New York, 6th June, 1841.

Dear Fields:

. . . I am pleased you are interested for the poor Smiths. They are very deserving. Their residence is No. 65 Murray St. . . Charley Hoffman has a nice place in the Custom House. I am sorry it is only temporary. E. Sargent is at Washington office-seeking.

H. T. Tuckerman.


Washington City, June 8th, 1841.

Dear Sir:

My friend Edgar A. Poe, of Graham's Magazine, Philadelphia, wrote me the other day informing me that you were about publishing a volume of American poetry, and that you were desirous of having sketches biographical of Pinckney of Baltimore and “Amelia” of Kentucky. He also stated to me that he had replied to yon that I could furnish you the sketches, and he advised me to write to you on the subject.

Pinckney I formerly knew, and I have the pleasure of knowing personally as well as poetically “Amelia.” Having been a Baltimorean and being lately of the West I feel a natural interest in the fame of both those individuals.

It would give me pleasure to furnish you the sketches, as my friend Poe writes me that you “pay well and promptly.” A thing as excellent in a man, as silence, according to old Lear, is excellent in a woman. If you should like me to furnish you the sketches aforesaid I should be glad to hear from you in the premises.

Prentice of Louisville I also know, and “Moina” (Mrs. Dinnies) of St. Louis. I should think that favorable sketches of these individuals would tend much to increase the sale of your work in the West — and that section of country, like all young mothers, feels a pride in her first born in literature as well as in other matters. If you publish the work on your own account I could perchance furnish you with some information with regard to our Western publishers which might be of service to yon. I know the editors [page 67:] “all along shore” there, and, in any event, for the sake of western literature I should be happy to advance your interests.

With respect, Yours truly,
F. W. Thomas.

The writer of the foregoing letter seems to have been a man of singular amiability. In a letter to Poe, dated Washington, 8 August, 1841, he gives the following account of himself: —

“My family, by the father’s side, were among the early settlers of New England. Isaiah Thomas, the founder of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester (Mass.), and the author of “The History of Printing,” was my father’s uncle. . . My Father, E. S. Thomas, . . . emigrated to Charleston, S. C, where he, after establishing himself in the book-business, met my mother, who was then on a visit from Baltimore, of which city she was a native. Shortly after the marriage of my father he removed from Charleston to Providence, Rhode Island, where I was born in, I think, the fall of 1808. [Duyckinck says he was born in Baltimore, and Coggeshall that he was a native of Charleston.] I left Rhode-Island a child in the nurse’s arms and have never been back — so I hold myself to be a Southerner — as my parents returned to Charleston with me. (My family consists of myself, then Lewis, Frances, Susan, Mary, Martha, Belle and Calvin.) I was a delicate child, and, at the age of four, I fell from a furniture box on which I was playing, and injured my left leg. I went into the house crying, as a child would, and soon returned to play again. My limb, a few weeks afterwards, became very painful, my health gradually declined, and the physicians advised my parents to send me to a healthier climate. In charge of my aunt I was sent to Baltimore, and placed under the care of my aunt Foulke. There I grew robust and recovered from my lameness except an occasional weakness in my limb, when I over-exercised myself at play. When about eight or nine, in running to the window, over a wet floor, to look at the soldiers passing, I got a fall, which, after long confinement (a year or more), threw me, a skeleton, on crutches. I used them until five years since, when the contrivance I now use was suggested to me. I went to school very little in consequence of my lameness and frequent indisposition, and when I was seventeen I commenced the study of the law. I have never been to college. The first attempt I made at scribbling was at this time. I wrote a poetical satire on some fops about town, and they became exasperated with the printer of the paper, I forget its name — a scurrilous penny-sheet — and tore his office to pieces, making Pi of his type. I attended at this time a debating [page 68:] society, which had a great many visitors, and there I used to hold forth with the rest. I was invited one Fourth of July to make a speech before the society on a steamboat excursion, and, getting some little credit for it I was invited by my political friends to address their meetings which I did, being then rated with Jacksonism. . . Your brother and I were then intimate — and rather rivals in a love affair. Scott, my fellow student studied hard, — I often stole out to the Baltimore Library and devoured the works upon Poetry, Oratory and Biography. Just after I was admitted to practice, my father, who had lost a handsome fortune, emigrated with his family, leaving myself, to Cincinnati and established “The Commercial Advertiser.” I practiced a few months, and then from ill health, retired to the country, where after a year’s sojourn I emigrated to Cincinnati in 1832 and assisted my father in editing his paper. We soon differed upon political matters, and I commenced the practice of the law, but in bad health. I defended a great many criminals, I believe with some success, and lectured before the Lyceum. In descending the river I wrote several stanzas expressive of my feelings, which I published in my father’s paper. They were noticed and complimented by the contemporary press, and I wrote out some farther impressions which the new scenes had made on me, and upon invitation delivered them before the Lyceum, in the shape of a rambling poem called “The Emigrant, or Reflections in descending the Ohio.” This took, if I may so say, before the Lyceum and I was requested to publish it, which I did in 1838. . .

After this, when Judge McLean was brought out for the Presidency, I was selected to publish his organ in Cincinnati, which I called the “Intelligencer.” I had it for about six months, and was compelled to quit the editorial chair, in consequence of bad health. While confined to my house and bed, I remarked one day to my sister Frances that I felt like trying to write a novel. She insisted upon my doing it, and daily brought paper and pen to my bedside, where most of Clinton Bradshaw was written. I should have mentioned that my best friend in Cincinnati was Charles Hammond of the Cincinnati “Gazette,” who is now dead, but who was esteemed the best editor and lawyer in Ohio. to him I dedicated my “Emigrant,” and he defended me with true chivalry against all critical attacks. In his paper, too, I wrote many satires upon folks about town, which made me some enemies.

When I had finished “Clinton Bradshaw,” with letters of introduction in my pocket to Mathew Carey, from Mr. Hammond and General Harrison, I started for Philadelphia which I reached in the dusk of the evening. [page 69:] Unknown and unknowing, in bad healtli and worse spirits, I wandered out not knowing what to do with myself, and shall never forget stopping before a house in Chestnut street struck with a tune that some fair one was playing, as if with a familiar voice. The discovery that the song was mine, “‘Tis said that absence conquers love,” changed the whole current of my feelings.

Mr. Carey, (this was in 1835), introduced me to Carey, Lea A Co. and they undertook the publication of my work. Let me say that Mr. Carey treated me with the greatest kindness. He was lame too, but a philosopher, and he felt and expressed a real sympathy for me. I was frequently his guest, and he often came to see me. In proof of his benevolent character let me say that he often annoyed me, or rather provoked my sensitiveness, by sending some lame man or other whom he had picked up in the street, to consult with me upon my superior powers of locomotion. Most of the characters in Clinton Bradshaw were drawn from persons living in Baltimore. “Glassman” was meant for Charles Mitchell, a very distinguished lawyer, who was dissipated. “O1d Nancy” for old Nelly, who is still an apple woman in Baltimore. “Cavendish” was drawn from a young, eccentric friend of mine, named Kelley, who is since dead. “Shaffer” was a portraiture of Jennings, etc.

“East and West” was published in 18S6. It was an attempt to pourtray the every day scenes of life occurring to a fallen family emigrating from the east to the west, most of the characters there were from life. “Howard Pinckney” was published in 1840. I have by me in MS. the poem which you have seen called — (I believe I will so call it) — “The Adventures of a Poet” which consists of 1800 lines; and two volumes of sketches of such persons as Wirt, John Randolph, Simon Kenton, (the Last of the Pioneers), with tales, etc. . .

In the May number of “The Southern Literary Messenger,” for 1838, you will find a sketch of your humble servant written by Ingraham.

While writing my books I travelled through the west to Louisville, St. Louis, Ac, and in the last canvass held forth In those places on the Harrison side. Sometimes upon invitation, in these cities and in Cincinnati, I delivered lectures upon literary subjects such as Oratory, Poetry, etc., Odd-Fellow addresses, and Fourth of July addresses. I was a delegate to the Baltimore May convention in ‘40, where I held forth, and after which I made your acquaintance in Philadelphia and got pelted by the people as you remember — or rather by the Locos.

I came on East last March to get my books out, but the death of General [page 70:] Harrison, and the uncertainties about the currency and the bank have prevented my publishing. Here I was invited to lecture before different societies, and in Alexandria, and did so to full houses, gratis — which were followed by empty puffs; but you Icnow what Goldsmith says about the Muse — “Thou source of all my bliss and all my woe That found me poor at first and keeps me so.” (Don’t say of me that I am in office, as it is only a temporary appointment.)

I am now engaged in writing a novel upon the events of the present day, many of the scenes of which are laid in Washington. My object is to describe life in the varieties in which I have seen it in Missouri, New Orleans and here among the office holders and seekers. I have written occasionally for these three or four years past for the Knickerbocker, Graham’s, the Ladies’ Companion and the Southern Literary Messenger. . .

One of the first persons who noticed me in the West was General Harrison, who shortly after my arrival in Cincinnati invited me to the Bend, where I went and was his guest for some weeks, — I was engaged there in one of my first law cases against his eldest son (now dead), William Harrison.

It is singular that my great uncle, my father, my brother and myself have ail played editor.

F. W. T.

As regards Thomas’ later career, Mr. W. F. Felch, in “Literary Life,” May, 1884, says that “In 1850 he returned to Cincinnati and entered the ministry of the Methodist Church; he was afterward Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the Alabama University. In 1800 he took charge of the literary department of the Richmond (Va.) Enquirer, and continued in that capacity until his death.” Some further information will also be found in this volume.


Bangor, June 9, 1841.

My dear Sir [Roberts]:

. . . I fear you have made an error in advertising “The Fortunes etc.” as originally written for the Notion. Some adverse paper may recognize the old work in it, and charge you with plagiarism, or me with fraud in selling you an old-story-in-part, as one wholly new. It might be better to say “for the first time collected and revised, with several new chapters expressly written for the Notion!” . . . By the way, if you care to have a collection of my poetical works, I should be glad to compile them for you gratis. They would make, I think, two such articles as you published of [page 71:] Hoffman’s. Shall you publish The Fortunes in the Semi-monthly Magazine or No? II you do, I will correct a copy and return it to you. I am, Dear Sir, Ever Yours most truly,

Henry Wm. Herbert.


[Autobiographical memorandum by Albert Pike sent to Griswold for sketch to be publishd in ‘The Poets and Poetry of America.’]

Born in Boston, Mass., Dec 29, 1809 — father removed when four years old to Newburyport. My father was a journeyman shoemaker, and worked hard, paid his taxes and gave all his children the benefit of an education. From the age of 4 to 16 I was at school, — partly in the public schools at Newburyport and a private school there, and last at Framingham. About that time I entered (passing a fair examination) at Harvard. I do not now recollect in what year. Our funds being scarce I became the assistant teacher in the grammar-school at Newburyport and after about a year and half. Principal, which I held some three months. Then traveled to Fairhaven, where taught an Academy during one winter — then on foot to Newburyport, where I opened a private school which I taught for a year. During this time I had kept up my studies, always intending to have entered [sic] at Harvard in advance. In March, 1831, started off for the West — by stage to Niagara, Cleveland and Cincinnati, thence by steamboat to Nashville, on foot to Columbia, Tennessee; thence on foot to Paducah, where took steamboat to St. Louis — and thence in August, started to Santa-Fe, together with two young men from Newburyport, in a company of about 40 men. Beached Santa-Fe, Nov. 28, 1831, half starved and whole frozen. Remained there till September, 1832 — part of the time as clerk in a store — and the residue traveling about the country, selling goods. In September, left Taos with a trapping party, traveled S. E. round the head of Red River id the head-waters of the Brasos — Starved for food and water — and at last on the Brasos, with four men, left the company and came on to Arkansas, the last 500 miles on foot. Reached Fort Smith in November, without a rag of clothes, a dollar in money, nor knowing a person in the Territory. Remained near Fort Smith, part of the time teaching a school, until July 1838 — then went still lower down the country (my school having netted me but 14 dollars, which kept me in debt for board), and opened another school at three dollars a quarter — half money and half pigs — Taught it six weeks — for the fever and ague, and three dollars in money. Having in the meantime written some rhymes for the Advocate, printed at Little Rock, the Editor [page 72:] sent for me to go there and assist In editing. Grossed the Arkansas in October, and landed at Little Rock, paying my last bit for the passage of a soldier who was a Yankee and had known my father. Edited the Advocate until October, 1834. During which time studied law — married, Not. 18, 1834, and purchased the Advocate. Edited it and practiced law at the same time until the Summer of 1836, and sold it out. Since then have been practising law.

I wrote the poetry which I published in my little book printed by George W. Light, partly in Santa-Fe, partly in the mountains and prairie, and partly immediately on my arrival in Arkansas. The Hymns to God, as originally published in Willis’ Magazine in Boston, I wrote while keeping school at Fairhaven, in the schoolroom, during school hours. The poetry published in the Pearl I wrote in 1838, while keeping school — all of it. ‘To the Mocking-bird’ I wrote a day or two after my marriage. I have written nothing since. Nothing of any importance, I mean. Nor do I think I ever shall. If I should even collect the scattered leaves, and publish what I have written, and published, it will be solely to get it together so that I can have it in a volume for my own pleasure.


New York, June 19, 1841.

My Dear Griswold: —

. . . Our friend Hoffman has felt as nervous as the Devil ever since you told him that that precious piece of “biography” was to go into a book. He is anxious that you should cool it down at least fifty degrees of Fahrenheit before you print it there. The fact is, Hoffman has desired me to become his biographer for you and at his suggestion. I [am to] say that he was never distinguished for anything either at school or college except for swimming further, diving deeper, and coming up dryer than his comrades. To be sure be has had masters for every accomplishment under God’s Heaven, but be never mastered one except that in which a duck and a spaniel beat him. Would it not be well therefore to eschew all sorts of flourish? Charley says his father was four times as distinguished at five and twenty as he shall ever be with all our kind aid — yet he is now forgotten save by the few gray beards who remember him as the friend and sometimes the rival of Hamilton. It seems mockery therefore to build anything upon this thin foundation of particulars to eke out your pages. I can supply you as well as H. (who feels sensitive, rather ridiculously so) upon this point. He has no European associations or connections to stock that [page 73:] same page of glory as our friend B. has. His family, though German in their origin (they sprouted from Martin Hoffman, a Lutheran Clergyman who immigrated into the Province of the Knickerbockers about 1670), soon lost all identity with the Fatherland by intermarrying at first with the Dutch and subsequently with the Huguenots and early English settlers. He himself, though, prides himself no little upon having New England blood in his veins, his maternal Grandfather being John Fenno of Boston, the original proprietor and editor of the old Federal United States Gazette. I mention this because I have often heard Hoffman say that he felt a sort of pride in being an American through and through, — belonging to the soil of old, and as he sprang from such a jumble of races that he can claim an origin nowhere but here.

I am thus particular with this matter because I know that our friend dislikes any kind of flourish. Will you allow me to quote from a brief note I received from him in answer to a request that I might prepare for you a brief biography of his mind and character? After remarking how much he felt gratified at the kind notice of yourself and other friends he adds: “But for God’s sake make no flourish — keep the aroma of puff for those whose nostrils it regales. I am,” he continues, “unaffectedly gratified that my scribblings should be thought worth exhuming and reclaiming. But that pleasure, I tell you truly, was much circumscribed by Mr. Griswold’s ultra praise. In the way of business I have no objection to a book of mine being puffed until the publisher is content. But praise of one man is a different thing, and his poetry, — the tears of his heart — the blood of it, sometimes, is a part of himself.” So much for Greystoer’s feelings — and allow me to add that all this may seem very impertinent on his part toward one who has done so kindly for him, and argues most probably acute self love. But so it is. Hoffman wants your notice of him to be the quietest in your Book. Will you permit me, by the way, to select for it a single piece which I know to be a pet of his — “Lines on the Bob o’ Linkum” — they were written and published before Mr. Irving made the theme a popular one, and of course those notes have lost no value from his endorsement. You will find the poem in Goodrich’s 4th Class Reader.

I told Hoffman that I was going to be the organ of his feelings and would write to you on the subject. He wishes you to omit in your volume “Raise the Heart” and “The Declaration” — the phraseology of those above being his, the thoughts belong to others. So much for Hoffman’s matters, and now a word as to my own. My volume is very nearly completed, and I [page 74:] shall be able to publish it about the 10th of August (‘41). The illustrations are exceedingly beautiful, and with your kind aid I think I have made a clever volume. [This refers to a volume of the Annual type, except that its contents were not original, called ‘The Poets of America Illustrated by one of her Painters. ’] . . .

I cannot sufficiently thank you, my Dear Sir, for the pleasure you gave me of knowing Mr. Tuckerman — he is decidedly the cleverest specimen of the New England Literati that I have met with, — really intellectual, and with all right modest. We Knickerbockers, I fear, do not sufficiently appreciate the leaven of Eastern scholarship. (God bless Benjamin, the Sargents and “all that ilk’’). Excuse this long rigamarole and believe me.

Truly and gratefully yours,
John Keese.

At the time of Hoffman’s death, in 1884, G. W. Curtis wrote of him with the kindly grace for which he was so well known. He was in error, however, in crediting the invention of the phrase ‘Knickerbocker Literature’ to J. R. Dennett, the article on ‘Schools in American Literature’ in “The Church Review” for October, 1850, having contained the following: —

“In recognizing another, and, in some respects, antagonist, school as existing in New York, we must not be understood as supposing that there is anything answering to the compact, mutual-assurance confederacy, which exists at Boston. The Knickerbockers — for such must be their nickname, have . . . no common focus. . . When we mention the names of Irving, Paulding, Cooper, Verplanck, Sands and Hoffman we think we strike a chord in the hearts of our readers which vibrates with a more tender feeling than that which would respond to our mention of their cleverest Eastern contemporaries. These writers have . . . been industrious without parade of effort, scholarly without ostentation, active without bustle, and efficient without self-conceit; and, altogether, there is about them a unity of manner, thought, and moral principle, and even a negative quality of style, which constitute them, with others, a literary school.” Viewed at a distance of fifty years, however, it appears that moral earnestness, even if sometimes misdirected, makes for fame more successfully than these negative virtues. But to come back to Mr. Curtis’ remarks on Hoffman: — [page 75:]

“The Easy Chair has more than once alluded to Charles Fenno Hoffman, one of the chief figures in the “Knickerbocker literature” of forty years ago, and the founder of the ‘Knickerbocker Magazine.’ The felicitous phrase Knickerbocker literature was first used in the ‘Nation’by Mr. Denny [sic] an admirably accomplished writer, who gave it a satirical turn as describing a kind of cockney or local and ephemeral literature, and his article had the tone of the Boston sexton who politely informed the stranger seeking a pew in the church for the afternoon service that it was hardly worth his while to go in — ‘excellent man, sir, but no talents; a New York man, sir.’

But while many of the noted writers in the Knickerbocker circle of half a century since are no longer famous nor even much known to the New York readers of to-day, yet the great Knickerbocker names are great still, and Irving, Cooper, Bryant, and perhaps Halleck, although Halleck is fading, still hold the place they held with our fathers. Willis is probably rapidly passing out of the public mind. . . The misfortune of his fate was twofold, that he was tempted to turn his bright talent into ready money, and that he did it. His gayety and his graceful fluency made him the first of our proper “magazinists.” He had the lightness and ease of touch which are traditionally characteristic of the distinctive writer for the magazines, and whose success contradicts the old saying that easy writing is hard reading. But Willis’s ease became at last a mannerism, and a certain tone of affectation and apparent insincerity crept over his page. . .

Hoffman was a year older than Willis, and he belonged to the same Knickerbocker group. Willis came from Boston, but Hoffman was of an old Knickerbocker family. Willis had a [page 76:] certain European tone and character, but Hoffman was completely American. Willis died seventeen years ago, when he was sixty years old. Hoffman died the other day at the insane retreat in Pennsylvania where he had been secluded for more than thirty years — so absolutely secluded, indeed, that Bartlett’s book of ‘Familiar Quotations’ records him as dying in 1850. Hoffman’s books, like Willis’s, are read no more, and his name survives only in his familiar song, “Sparkling and bright.” That alone will give his name yet a longer date than Willis’s, and the sad story of his life will be long tenderly told in our American literary biography.

Those who still recall his manly figure, and his fresh, breezy, gay manner, will remember the sense of profuse vitality with which he impressed those who saw him. He was a lover of the woods and waters, a natural sportsman, and this taste is reflected in his tales and sketches. His poems, as is always true of a great multitude of poems in every period, were echoes of the greater poets of his time. But they show his poetic feeling and facility, and a certain heartiness of nature which was his characteristic quality. The mental calamity which arrested his career, and practically ended his life nearly forty years ago, was not the only sorrow which this brave and generous man endured. As a boy of eleven a sore misfortune befell him in the loss of a leg. . . At seventy-seven the poet walked alone in the rural neighborhood of Harrisburg, pleased to hear the sounds and to see the sights of the fields and the woods, harmless and murmuring to himself. But for more than thirty years he had had no actual human companionship. The generation to which he belonged had passed away, and to the new generation his name was unknown.” [page 77:]

Charleston, June 20, 1841.

My dear Sir:

. . . Of your proposed publication I have received some Intimation. . . The selections hitherto made from my verses for publications of this sort (Bryant’s included) , have always seemed to me the very worst I have written; yet when you ask me to designate the best, I um at non plus. I must leave this solely to your own taste and judgment. I dare not venture to depend on my own. I am conscious, too, that there are very few of my pieces not impaired by blots, deliciencies, [aud] crudities. To choose those which are least so would be a very different thing from choosing the best, and I should be divided between the desire to appear correct, and the greater desire to be original aud true. My verses have usually been overflowings rather than workings. Like all overflowings they bear in their passage a great deal that is unseemly, — they are themselves too frequently turbid. I know this truly. I could wish that the public taste or my own independence would enable me to direct, guide and work a stream within proper channels, which now does nothing but overflow its banks. But the wish is sufficiently idle, as your own estimate of the public taste declares. You must choose the most bold among my verses which are at the same time the most clear. These perhaps will better represent my mind than any other. The list of my publications will tell you where to look for them. . . My first publication was a volume entitled “Lyrical and Other Poems” published when I was about 18. This was followed a year after by another called “Early Lays,” a third called “The Vision of Cortez and Other Poems;” a fourth, written in 1830, at a few sittings, or rather, goose-like, standing on one leg, was called “The Tri-Color, or Three Days of Blood in Paris.” Of these volumes little can be said. They were the performances either of boyhood or of extreme youth. I commenced doggrelizing, I think at 8 or 9, began to accumulate my doggrel in books even at that early period, and at to was printing it in newspapers whenever a good-natured Editor could be found to give me admission in what, among newspapers, is facetiously called ‘The Poets’ Comer,’ — a comer which I think does a great deal of mischief, except in a purely literary Journal. All these books, the last, perhaps, excepted, were made up of the stuff accumulating from the earliest beginnings of my poetical infancy. I need not say to you that they contained a great deal of very sorry stuff. Still, I fancy that they had something in them, and I have been amusing myself, in later days, by revising, trimming them here and there, and stringing them together, by the batch, in Magazines, under the appropriate head of “Early Lays.” [page 78:]

Of myself, in this time, the history is no pleasant one to me. My mother died when I was an infant. My father failed as a merchant, and emigrated to the West about the same time, leaving me with an aged grandmother, and a small maternal property which the latter hoarded so religiously as to withhold the appropriations necessary to my education. In consequence of this, the utmost of my attainments were those of a grammar school, irregularly attended, for I was so frequently sick in boyhood that it was almost the conviction with all that I could not be raised. But even sickness had its advantages. I got books, devoured them — books of all kinds without order or discrimination, and probably, in this way, acquired a thousand times more than I could have done under the ordinary school advantages. I grew apace in some things, singularly backward in others, studied law after a fashion and was admitted to practice when I was 21, the very day in fact. Before this I had taken to edit[ing] magazines, and soon after I involved myself in the meshes of debt by the purchase of a political newspaper, which failed, swallowing up my little maternal property and leaving me considerably involved. By this time I had lost my father and my wife. I had married before I was of age. In 1832 I visited the north for the first time. I had previously made two journeys, on horseback, to the South-west; traversing some very wild regions. At the North, at the town of Hingham, I prepared Atalantis [5] for the press. I wrote the last part of that poem at Hingham. The first portion had been written several years before. It was published at New York in the winter of 1832. In ’33, I published “Martin Faber” [8], portions of which had been published in a magazine in Charleston some 8 years before. The same year I published “The Book of My Lady.” In the summer of 1834 I published Guy Rivers [10], the first volume of which was written in ‘32. This was followed by “The Yemassee” [11], “The Partisan” [12], “Melllchampe” [13], “Pelayo” [14], “Carl Werner” [15], “Southern Passages and Pictures” [16], “The Damsel of Darien” [17], “The Kiowah” and “The History of South Carolina” [19]. Besides this I have written Tales and Reviews without number, verses ad nauseam, I fear, and matters of one sort or another which it almost shocks me to think upon. ‘I am afraid to think of what I’ve done.’ The undassed and inedited materials in my hands now would make a matter of 20 Tols. more in print. A considerable portion of this is in print — a greater still in ms. You have a specimen in the Poem of “Florida” [21] sent you the other day. I am of opinion that much of this stuff is superior to anything I have ever published. I should be sorry to think otherwise. . . In [page 79:] the “Book of My Lady” published by Key and Biddle in Phila. you will find several specimens of my early poetry which I think needs revision only to be as good as anything I have done. Some of my reviews have been considered fortunate. Such are those upon Mrs. Trollope and Miss Martineau. “Atalantis” I have entirely rewritten.

You have here a correct list of my labors, so far ns I am at present able to communicate them. I will not conceal from you the fact . . . that I have been engaged in other toils which will be claimed in due season — labors which have had their successes, after the fashion of literary successes in our country. In enumerating these numerous performances, dd not, my dear Sir, fancy that I speak of them with any feeling of “boyish brag.” I sincerely wish that I could have had leisure to dd less, of a different kind, and in another fashion. You have the unlicked efforts of an uneducated boy, gradually teaching himself by exposing his ignorance to his neighbours. I should be sorry if I could not add my conviction that I have improved and that I am still improving. At least, my humility is increasing, and that is sometimes a sign of wisdom: I trust not a delusive one in my case. . . My habits are retiring — perhaps quite as much from active self-esteem as humility. I am again a married man, the father of three children, all girls, one of whom is now at school in Massachusetts. . . Do not, however, suppose me insensible to the sweet solicitings of fame. It has been the dream of my life, the unnamed inspiration of my boyhood — dearer than life, for which I take cheerfully to toil, and toil on, though I see not tlie reward. Let me add, however, that Mr. James Lawson of New York may assist you in your biography. If not a very distinguished, he is a very worthy, kind-hearted and honorable gentleman.

Thus far, in answer to your inquiries, I trust I have answered you with sufficient distinctness. It is scarce necessary, but I may add that I am a native of Charleston — my father came from Ireland when a boy. My mother’s family came from Virginia. They were all (the males) actively engaged on the Whig side in the Revolution — bore arms in the defence of Charleston, and a portion of them tasted the sweets of the British Prison Ship. My father was a volunteer in the Creek War under Jackson In Coffee’s Brigade of mounted men. . . With friendly consideration, believe me,

Your faithful and obedient Servant,
W. G. Simms.

[page 80:]

The following letter being upon same subject, it is inserted here. The numbers in brackets indicate respectively, 1st, the order of Simms’ books as here mentioned, 2nd, their order in the previous letter, 8d, order in Prof. Trent’s bibliography.

Woodlands, Dec., 1846.

Dear Sir:

. . . Though exceedingly busy, and subject to frequent interruptions of care and business, I seize a moment of respite though not of ease, to respond to the request which you make. . . I commenced writing In rhyme at a very early period. At eight or nine years of age, while the events were in progress, I rudely versified the achievements of our navy in the last war with Great Britain [1 = 0 = 0]. At fifteen I was a scribbler for the first time in the newspapers, and about the same time wrote a narrative poem in four cantos entitled ‘The Ring’ — a tale of Italy [2 = 0 = 0]. Before I was twenty-one I had published tw9 collections of miscellaneous verses [8 = 1=2, and 4 = 2 = 8] and had written portions of numerous things, besides ballads and epics and dramas, some of which I have subsequently turned to account in print.

I had discretion enough to suppress most of these things which now it would be scarcely possible for even such an industrious collector as yourself to find. two other collections [6 = 8 = 4, and 6 = 4 = 5] followed between my twenty-first and twenty-fourth years, prepared and published while I was in the arduous toils of a newspaper Editor. These were in a more ambitious vein, but are also beyond your reach, and almost of my own. In 1832, I published ‘Atalantis [7 = 6 = 6] a Story of the Sea’ — a poem in the dramatic form. This production received the favorable notice of the London ‘Metropolitan,’ then under the control of the poet Campbell. . . Among the numerous favorable notices of this poem in the United States, it may be sufficient to mention that of the New England Magazine. . . Mr. Flint, then editing the ‘Knickerbocker’ Magazine, said of the same work, — ‘Is a clear and well got up Arabian Night affair, a real sea-goblin concern, with enough imagination and eloquence, and beautiful figures, and splendid conceptions, and wild paintings of such stuff as dreams are made of, thrown away upon it to have woven and embellished a real painting of life and living things, etc ‘ The error of the poem was in the dramatic form, and in the redundancy of the descriptive portions. I have lately revised or rewritten It.

While I am in for the poetry, I may as well place In this connection the names of my subsequent publications In verse. These are: a volume [page 81:] entitled ‘Southern Passages and Pictures’ [8 = 16 = 7] , the name of which will probably be found to describe its character. This was succeeded by a poem (incomplete) entitled ‘Donna Florida’ [9 == 21 = 8] which has been unjustly assumed to be an imitation of ‘Don Juan,’ and which is not distinguished by any of the grossnesses of that poem. Four Cantos of Donna Florida left the work still incomplete — the story, with the exception of the last Canto, being pretty well sunk in the digressions. Here, if you please, you might quote, as a sample, the opening verses of the 4th Canto, in which the Muse of the Nation is invoked, and the country personified. So also, If you think proper, might be given from the same Canto the conflict between De Laye, a Spanish adventurer, and the Chief of the Jenundes. At all events, you may say of the poem that it is playful and mischievous, and the allusions all inoffensive.

‘Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies’ [10 = = 9] forms the next publication, which is a collection of sonnets. This volume is either Imaginative, moral, or contemplative, or all mixed. For a sample or two of each of these characteristics, you might quote ‘Progress in Denial’ at p. 42, ‘First Love,’ at 44, and ‘Home Service’ at 20. To these succeeded ‘Areytos, or Songs of the South’ [11=0 = 10]. The object of these poems is not simply to associate the sentiment with a local habitation and a name, but to invest with an atmosphere of fancy such as distinguish the passion of love in days of chivalry, the ordinary utterance of this first emotion of the opening heart. As specimens of this volume, you might quote the song at 15, that on 19 and 20, and that on 74. These will all be found to embody equally the supposed warmth of a southern temperament with the refining fancies which are assumed to have distinguished the loves of a Sidney and a Bayard.

But the work which, in my literary career, succeeded to the publication of ‘Atalantis’ was ‘Martin Faber’ [12 = 8 = 34] a gloomy and passionate tale which, assumed by certain European critics, as well as American, to have been provoked by the British tale ‘Miserrimus’ was in fact expanded from a tale which I published ten years before in a magazine in Charleston, and which contained all the distinguishing traits and scenes of the subsequent romance. ‘Martin Faber’ belongs to the family of which (Godwin’s ‘Caleb Williams’ is the best known model. But those who read the two works will fail to see any imitation on the part of the American author. Of the work, the New York American, then edited by C. F. Hoffman, says . . . All admitted the power and interest of the work, bat some cavilled at the [page 82:] moral. The hero charges his crimes upon fate — an ordinary habit with such persons, and this is charged upon the author. He uses crime for his material, and in his case, as a young American beginner, the practice, unavoidable for any writer of fiction that ever lived, was supposed to be criminal. This work had several brethren of the same order, which followed at intervals. Among them may be mentioned ‘Castle Dismal’ [13 = 0 = 39] a tale which has been supposed to be particularly original, Confession, or the Blind Heart [14 = 0 = 36], Carl Werner [15 = 15 = 31], Wigwam and Cabin [16 = 0 = 42].

These publications, forming in all some ten volumes, were marked chiefly by the characteristics of pasblon and imagination — by the free use, in some cases, of diablerie and all the machinery of superstition, and by a prevailing presence of vehement individuality of tone and temper. They constitute, in all probability, the best specimens of my power of creating and combining, to say nothing of a certain intensifying egotism, which marks all my writings written in the first person. There are yet other tales belonging to this category, and perhaps not inferior in merit to any of these, which have appeared in annuals and magazines, but which I have not yet collected in book form. Of one of these stories the London ‘Examiner’ spoke in terms of the highest commendation. . .

But, anterior to the publication of most of these, and soon after the publication of ‘Martin Faber,’ I gave my first novel to the public. This was ‘Guy Rivers’ [17 = 10 = 26] . It was meant to illustrate the border and domestic history of the South. The first volume of ‘Guy Rivers’ was written some time before the second, and the style betrays the labor and anxiety of a young author, highly ambitions of his tools, but as yet unpractised in the use of them. The difference between those portions of the work where he forgets himself in the excitement of the story is apparent at a glance. The work was highly successful, was stereotyped, and soon passed to a second, third, and fourth edition. Of this work the critics spoke very indulgently. At the time of its appearance Mr. Cooper had sole possession of the field. Mr. Paulding had not confirmed the impression made by his Dutchman’s Fireside in his subsequent novel of Westward Ho. Guy Rivers rose to Instant favor. It was republished In London in three volumes. Of the thousand notices of the press, mostly favorable, which it received, I refer you to that of Mr. Clark, of the Knickerbocker. This gentleman, who since I pronounced him a liar and refused to know him, has spared no occasion to lie about and disparage me, spoke of Guy Rivers as ‘superior in [page 83:] many respects to the general work of Mr. Cooper’ . . . Belonging to the same family with Guy Rivers are some ten or a dozen volumes, distinguished by great activity of plot, vehement and passionate personality, and pictures and sketches of border character and border scenery, in which I claim to be equally true and natural. There are running through all these works a strong penchant to moral and mental analysis, such as led Hoffman, in one of his notices, to surest that I would do well to devote a work entirely to the business of working out my metaphysical vein. These works were not published consecutively.

‘Guy Rivers’ made some enemies for me in New England, simply because Jared Bunce, a Yankee Pedlar, was not made the hero of the novel, and was kept simply what he set out to be, a Yankee Pedlar. In this humble character he is yet a good fellow, humane, intelligent, and steadfast, and only, like all pedlars, cunning. It is not true, as you have thought and taught that I got my rogues from New England. Guy Rivers himself is a South Carolinian, and he is the monster of the book. By the way, whole pages of Guy Rivers have been stolen by Seatsfield [As to this, Mr. A. B. Faust has shown that Simms, not “Seatsfield,” was the thief. See page 47 of his dissertation on Seatsfield, published in 1892. Griswold naturally assumed the correctness of Simms’ remark, and Prof. Trent, referring to Griswold’s note, says his statement was ‘an exaggeration.’ Commenting on this Mr. Faust says: “The truth is that Sealsfield borrowed neither much nor little, he borrowed nothing. This is proved by the fact that Sealsfield’s book appeared earlier than ‘Guy Rivers,’ ” viz., in U. S. newspapers in 1827-28.] and have been quoted abroad as superior to what could be done by an American, even describing his own country. My Jared Bunce is his Jared Bendell — so close is the plagiarism. Richard Hurdls [18 = 0 = 30] was published anonymously and instantly went to a second edition. Border Beagles [19 = 0 = 84] and Beauchampe [20 = 0 = 37] were also published anonymously.

But these works, though of the same order, did not follow the publication of Guy Rivers. That work was succeeded by ‘The Yemassee’ [21 = 11 =27], the first of my Historical Romances. The success of the Yemassee was even more decided than that of G. R. . . . But it was reserved for the Evening Post to discover what seems to have escaped all the other critics, that the entire mythology of the Yemassee, which they took for Gospel History, was of the author’s pure invention, elevating his claims to originality, and that of the work to the standard of pure romance. . . The [page 84:] Temassee wan the first of a class to which belongs three other works, viz. — The Damsel of Darien [32 = 17 = 88] Pelayo [28 = U = 83] and Count Jolian [24 = = 41]. These three works are all founded on Spanish Btoriesy though the scene of the first is in our own country, and the events belong to modem times. I do not think that the D. of D. ever had justice done it, though it received high praise from certain quarters. The theme was too stately for the taste of our day, which at that time ran on the rough and tumble. Pelayo and Count Julian, though full of scenes and passage of which I should never be ashamed, are yet, in design, not the things that I would make them now. Their history is given in the preface to the latter work. These did not follow the Yemassee in direct order. The Partisan [25 = 12 = 28] a tale of the Revolution, succeeded the Yemassee, a book that sold better and was better liked by readers than by critics. Though distinguished by delineations and scenes which satisfy me, the design was feeble, the parts clumsily put together. In truth the printing of the work was begun before the first fifty pages were written. Wherever the action was in progress, the story told, but there were frequent breaks and lapses which spoiled the effect. . . ‘Mellichampe ‘[26 = 18 = 29] was a continuation of the Partisan and succeeded it. It was, as a whole, a better work and better written, but possibly had not so many scenes of power. ‘The Kinsmen, or the Black Riders of the Congaree’ [27 = 0 = 35] belonging to the same family, followed these after some interval. It was, as a story, a better work than either, and an edition (I think) of 2,000 or 2,500 copies were sold at $2 retail, when Bulwer or James were retailing at 25 cents.

In History and Biography I have written a History and Geography of South Carolina [27 = 19 = 00 and 28 = 0 = 61] 2 vols.; a Life of Gen. Marion [29 = 0 = 62] and one of John Smith, the Founder of Virginia [30 = 0 = 68] , the last not yet published but printed. The History of South Carolina, though limited in circulation to this state, has already in five years gone to three large editions. The MS. of Marion you probably know as well as myself. I have been guilty of two orations, which have been published — one delivered before the Erosophic Society of the University of Alabama, entitled ‘The Social Principle, the True Source of National Permanence’ [31 = 0 = 70] — the other before the citizens of Aiken, entitled ‘The Sources of American Independence’ [32 = 0 = 71]. As a writer of criticism, I have contributed Onerously to Periodicals North and South, reviewing Mrs. Trollope in the American Quarterly, Miss Martineau in the Messenger, Montgomery’s Messiah in the Knickerbocker (under Flint) and Presoott’s [page 85:] Mexico, Home’s Spirit of the Age, Allston’s and Mathews’ writings, etc., in the Southern Review, and an immense variety of the same sort of writing in the Southern Literary Journal, the Magnolia, Western and Southern Review, etc. Of these contributions, the Reviews of Mrs. Trollope and Miss Martineau have been republished in Pamphlet form, and a selection devoted entirely to American topics has been made in two volumes for Wiley and Putnam’s Library. I have now gone over the lint of books which I have published and which I care to acknowledge, and may as well recapitulate.

Of the novels imaginative you have a large collection of tales some of which made an entire volume, viz.: 1, Martin Faber; 2, Castle Dismal; 3, Carl Werner, etc.; 4, Wigwam and Cabin. These make eight volumes. Of the Border Domestic Novels you have: Guy Rivers, Border Beagles, Beauchampe, etc., 10 vols. In Historical Romances you have: 1, The Temassee, 2, Damsel of Darien , 8, Pelayo, 4, Count Julian; 8 vols. Of the Revolutionary Novels: 1, The Partisan, 2, Mellichampe, 3, The Kinsmen, — 6. In Biography and History you have: The Life of Marion, Life of Smith, History and Geography of South Carolina, — i vols. In Criticism 2 vols, and in Pamphlets 2. In Poetry there is: Atalantis, Southern Passages, Donna Florida, Grouped Thoughts, Areytos.

Talking of Poetry, and of the suppressed volumes, let me remark that Jas. G. Brooks (Florio) reviewing one of them published when I was 19, opens thus — ‘It is with more than ordinary pleasure that we have to pass judgment on the volume before us. Mr. Simms is entitled to take his place among the first of American poets. The fire of true genius burns in his song, and its light is pure, warm and brilliant. We have read his poetry with unqualified pleasure. We like its very faults, for they are the bold, generous faults of high genius and lofty feelings.’ This was published in the New York Literary Gazette and American Athenæum. The review and extracts occupied several pages. Of another of these boyish volumes [“The Vision of Cortés”; 33 = 3 = 4], John Neal says in his ‘Yankee’ — ‘The man who could write this poetry, could, if he would wait awhile and take time for it do so much better, that instead of speaking highly of what he has done, we are resolved to say nothing in its favor: although if he had not excited such high expectations by here and there a brief passage, a line or two — a thought — or a simple word, mayhap we should be among the first to say — here we have another poet, springing up in the busy solitude of our country, among the ten thousand other neglected flower-bearers of a similar root and a similar growth, born to perish — if they do not hold back their strength till [page 86:] the day of their maturity.’ I send you, to clone fitly this long detail, a sonnet which was published anonymously, but which is supposed to be by Rev. Mr. S. Bulfinch, on the appearance of ‘Atalantis.’

‘Simms I thou hast woven a garland fit to wreathe

Thy country’s brow of glory; ail things fair

And wonderful are blent together there —

The flower of Spring, — the smooth-lipped shell. There breathe

Forth from their mystic twines sweet spirit voices.

class="pmline" And in the spirit are they heard. The heart

Of one young brother of the lyre rejoices

In thee and blesses thee; for thy high art

Hath wakened thought, and made the feelings dart

Up to their birthplace, where in boundless light

Dwell the realities of our visions bright.

And where thy inspirations have a part.

Go on then in the brightness of thy mind.

And In thy country’s praise, thy crown of glory find.’

Of another suppressed work the Knickerbocker, conducted by Flint, writes thus: ‘We admire the spirit in which the book is written. It comes on us in “this age of calculations” like a sunbeam from the days of Froissart. We like the chivalrous gallantry, the romantic devotion, the Onerous enthusiasm; all bespeak, not the cold respect of an economizing, calculating generation, but the high, and to us congenial, feeling of some southern and sunny land, where hearts beat with a prouder and loftier sympathy than in these colder climes.’

This summary has been written stampede in uno, and I have neither the taste nor leisure to run my eye over it after writing. Excuse faults, and try to repair deficiencies as you read. . . Meanwhile hold me very truly.

Yours, etc.,
W. Gilmore Simms.


In Prof. Trent’s excellent biography of Simms, which is the best of the many works on Southern literature, may be found some remarks on Griswold’s relations to Southern authors. This compiler, who, the professor tells us, is now mentioned only with ‘good-natured contempt or positive scorn,’ would seem to have been an especial nuisance to writers below Mason [page 87:] and Dixon’s line. Simms was not the only sufferer: “Pinkney,” adds Mr. Trent, “was to die in a year, and, worse fate, was to fall into the hands of . . . Griswold. Virginia could say ‘much the same thing of the unfortunate Richard Dabney, but he, at least, escaped Griswold.” As Griswold had no power to injure authors except by making their names familiar to a larger number of persons, or, as in the case of Cooke, by getting a publisher for them, it ai-gues great stupidity on their part that they did not avoid the annoyance to themselves and their admirers by the simple course of refusing his requests for information and declining his offers of professional help.

Singularly enough, Poe and ‘Young America,’ of whom more presently, were alone among Griswold’s contemporaries in seeing what a literary humbug he was, and even Poe did not perceive it till after Griswold had been offered his place as editor of ‘Graham’s Magazine.’ It is perhaps not so strange, tho, considering that even in our time, in spite of the clear vision enjoyed by posterity, there are persons unable to understand the true state of the case. One of these persons was the late H. Morford, whose opinion was quoted on page 86. Another is that of a writer in the ‘Evening Post’ of 8 July 1898: —

“An adjoining shelf holds Rufus Wilmot Griswold’s familiar work ‘The Poets and Poetry of America,’ which Poe bitterly assailed in the satire [as well as in a lecture given shortly after its publication], and concerning which he says in a note, ‘It is in the invaluable collection of Griswold that I have found the plot and groundwork of the tale ‘. . . The fact seems to be generally forgotten that his [Griswold’s] literary labors far excelled in volumnity, research, and intrinsic value those of any other American writer of his time. No man did more than he [page 88:] to present the claims of American literature to the attention of the American people; and he made many a thorny path of investigation smooth for the future historian, without receiving any other reward for his industry than the praise of the few who shared his peculiar enthusiasm, and the satisfaction of successful research.”

The metrical satire referred to had the same title as Griswold’s book. “The poem,” continues the ‘Post’ writer, “which is signed ‘Lavante,’ is written in heroic couplets and comprises about 950 lines. The fact of Poe’s authorship was pretty clearly shown a few years ago by an enterprising gentleman, hiding himself behind the nom de plume of “Geoffrey Quarles,” who unearthed the original Philadelphia edition in some out-of-theway place and carefully edited a reprint.”

Similarly perverse are the views of Messrs R: H: Stoddard and T: Dunn English. I add them, as literary curiosities, tho, aside from the critical incapacity which they betray, the writers’ evidence would be thrown out of any court on account of their well-known incapacity to appreciate Poe’s moral worth.

Here is what Mr. Stoddard had to say as late as 18 Aug. 1894: “Among all the early friends of [Griswold] there is no one who . . . remembers him with more kindness. I knew him as well as a young man can know an older man, and only knew him as a kindly gentleman wb6se delight it was to discover merit where he could, and to serve his friends to the utmost. . . I cannot but cherish the memory of Rufus Wilmot Griswold. I write clumsily, but I am sure you will understand my motive and feeling.” There is no excuse for Mr. Stoddard’s writing thus in 1894, for he had been told by ‘The Critic’ in 1889, apropos of an article in ‘Lippincott’s Magazine,’ that to attempt to defend Griswold was “love’s labor lost.” [page 89:]

“The charges against him [Griswold],” wrote Mr. English 1 Oct. 1895, “arose from the disappointed ambition of other parties; when he prepared his work on ‘The Poets and Poetry of America/ the best ever seen of its kind, he made enemies not only of those whom he omitted, but of those he did admit where he did not give them great prominence or tickle their vanity. They followed him not only to the day of his death bat after it, and slandered him most abominably, as I know. . . [Griswold] . . . had a great reserve where he could have done much mischief without passing the bounds of truth, and where he could do a service for another he always rendered it freely.” ‘The Critic,’ however, knows better than this: so late as 20 Feb. 1897, it [“J. L. G.”] casually refers to Griswold as a person “who made himself famous, or infamous, by his criticisms of Poe and other poets.”

It is refreshing, after reading such silly remarks as these, to turn to the candid and judicial commentary of Mr. Edmund Gosse. Mr. Gosse, being an Englishman, writes with entire impartiality, as well as a high degree of acumen. His restrained and dignified style is worthy of the precision of his views; for sweetness and light where can be found a passage which exceeds this?: —

“It did not occur to our innocent mind, that the world could produce an insect so ingeniously wicked [as Griswold].” As to “this infamous person . . . we leave the particulars of his life to those painstaking naturalists that make the hemiptera the subject of their special study. If he has a grave may the toad pour out her poison there; if he lives, may he live long yet to enjoy the execration of all well-disposed persons. . . Such conduct requires a motive. The bewildered reader asks why? The answer is that the biographer was also a maker of [page 90:] books, of very trumpery books, that Poe was a trenchant and fearless reviewer, and that he had occasion to show Griswold up as an impostor.”

This theory, started by Mr. W. F. Gill, has been adopted by Poe’s other admirers, Messrs Didier and Ingram. Yet these writers can hardly have overlooked the facts mentioned by Mr. W. J. Stillman in ‘The Nation’ of 11 Apr. 1878:

“As if finally to refute his own theory of the malice of the previous biographer, Mr. Gill prints a review by Poe of Griswold’s ‘Poets of America’ . . . Now, not only is the criticism itself in the very worst style of that crude and abusive early period of American literature; not only does it show us Poe as introducing puffs of himself, over and over again . . . but it specifically refutes the precise argument for whose sake it is introduced. This review by Poe was aimed at the third edition of Griswold’s tedious book; whereas anyone who will refer to the first edition will find that the author had already implied there, very distinctly, the same low moral estimate of Poe which he later showed. In short, it was Poe, not Griswold, who wrote under a grudge.”

It is possible that the views of Mr. Trent and Mr. Gosse upon Griswold’s book were not based on independent examination, but were merely echoes of Poe’s opinion. How the latter came to write his review, and his animus in doing it, may be read elsewhere; and, whatever his motive, his opinion of the book may have been the right one. But it is well to take into consideration the principle on which his reviews were written, as shon in Burton’s letter to him of 80 May 1839: —

I am sorry that you thought necessary to send me such a letter as your last. . . I cannot agree to entertain your proposition, either in justice to yourself or to my own interest. The worldly experience of which you speak has not taught me [to] conciliate authors of whom I know nothing and from whom I can expect nothing. Such a supposition Is but a poor comment upon my honesty of opinion, or the principles of expediency which you would insinuate as actuating my conduct. I have been as severely handled in the world as you can possibly have been, but my sufferings have [page 91:] not tinged my mind with a melancholy hue, nor do I allow my views of my fellow creatures to be jaundiced by the fog: of my own creation. . . You must get rid of your avowed ill-feelings towards your brother authors — you see that I speak plainly — indeed, I cannot speak otherwise. Several of my friends, hearing of our connexion, have warned me of your uncalled-for severity in criticism.

Mr. J. H. Ingram saw that this letter threw an undesired light on his hero’s literary character, and suppressed it. When called to account for so doing, in ‘Temple Bar’ for August 1883, he replied in ‘The Academy’ that “Griswold inserted a letter the authenticity of which I have every reason to doubt, and which I did not, therefore, republish.” Under these circumstances it is fitting to remark that the above quotations have been made from the autograph.

That Poe experienced no change of heart in this matter is clear from the following: —

“Poe,” we read in ‘The Literary World’ of 21 Sept. 1860, “was, in the very centre of his soul, a literary attorney, and pleaded according to his fee. To omit, when properly invited to do so, to retain Poe, by an advance of his peculium, was to incur his everlasting hostility; and it is a striking illustration of this, that the author who is made the most constant occasion, throughout these six hundred pages [The ‘Literati’ volume] , of malevolent abuse and misrepresentation, is one who, both from principle and necessity, never allowed himself to be taxed by the late Poe to the extent of a dollar. And yet the author of ‘The Literati’ was not without a gleam of consciousness of the peculiar course he was pursuing. For instance, we have here . . . a particularly personal and impertinent review . . . which Poe himself, subsequently, when sober, characterized, in a letter to Mr. Mathews now before us, — ‘Could I imagine that, at any moment, you regarded a certain impudent and flippant critique as more than a matter to be laughed at, I would proffer you an apology on the spot. Since I scribbled the article in question, you yourself have given me fifty good reasons for being ashamed of it.’ ”

Griswold seems to have known what were the vulnerable points of his book, for in the preface to the edition of 1855 he has the following: — [page 92:]

“The book was in the first place too hastily prepared. There was difficulty in procuring materials, and in deciding, where so many had some sort of claim to the title, whom to regard as Poets. There had been published in this country about five hundred volumes of rhythmical compositions of various kinds and degrees of merit, nearly all of which I read with more or less attention. From the mass I chose about one-fifth, as containing writings not unworthy of notice in such an examination of this part of our literature as I proposed to make. I have been censured, perhaps justly, for the wide range of my selections. But I did not consider ail the contents of the volume Poetry. I aimed merely to show what had been accomplished toward a Poetical Literature by our writers in verse before the close of the first half century of our national existence. With much of the first order of excellence, more was accepted that was comparatively poor. But I believe nothing was admitted inferior to passage in the most celebrated foreign works of like character. I have also been condemned for omissions. But on this score I have no regrets. I can think of no name not included in the first edition which I would now admit without better credentials than were before me when that edition was printed.”

A continuation of the work was prepared by R. H. Stoddard in 1872. A passage in his preface indicates that the work, even at that date, was not without value: —

“The reasons which determined this . . . intention to leave Dr. Griswold’s own work intact were submitted to some of the editor’s literary friends, who acquiesed in their Justice. ‘If I were in your place,’ was the advice one gave, ‘I should not mix my work and Griswold’s, but leave the latter precisely as he left it. Every reader now will want Griswold’s book (at least I do), with his biographies, critical remarks, and selections. The latter are as good as is necessary; giving in almost all cases, the author’s best and most characteristic poems; while his criticisms would lose their historical value if meddled with. to be sure he got into a good deal of hot water (there, by the way, is a warning to you, in dealing with the new names,) but all that has passed away. No one can complain if you let his articles stand, while there might be a great deal of complaint if you meddle with them.’ ”


New York, July 10, 1841.

Rufe Gris:

. . . I am poor as a Church mouse and not half so saucy. I have had losses this week, and am very perplexed and afflicted. I feel limber as [page 93:] a rag. But better luck must come. I am fishing for a partner in The Tribune, and have hopes of securing one. A week will show.

Raymond has gone up the river tonight, on his way to Utica to report the decision in the McLeod Case. Meantime I am on double duty, and shall hardly have time to wink, let alone sleeping.

. . . About my account with Haughton’s estate. It will be perfectly easy for the executors by turning to the file of the Atlas for 1839 (commencing with two or three letters from Albany) to see what my account is against the concern. I was to have $50 a month for correspondence — Haughton’s own offer. How much he paid me will easily be seen by turning to his Ledger for that year. I kept no account — the Atlas is my ledger; I only know that I was not paid into about one month, or $50. That balance I should like, either with or without interest; but if I don’t get it, I shall do without. I hope, however, the Executors will at least do me the favor to look into the matter, and adjudge me what they find due me.

Gris, I hope you and Demorest will find it convenient and think it advisable to take the old Yorker, in September. I know I could do as well with it pecuniarily in another shape; but I feel a pride in the old paper, and hate to see it go down. It has a sort of reputation and character on which talent, energy, industry and business tact can build a fortune, I hope. . .

I suppose I have bored you enough with my sorrows, etc. Luck to you, boy, and may you find a faithful guardian one day; if you belonged to somebody you would be worth a whole India Rubber Company. The misfortune of being born free has ruined you.

Yours, tolerably,
H. Greeley.


Richmond, Va., July 17, 1841.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., My dear Friend, —

I wish you to write “all sorts” of an article for the Messenger — not on the lawless outrage committed on Ludlow’s property, — an outrage that would justify a result to arms on our part to recover his property, — but I wish you to pen a paper for me on Mount Auburn, — tell us of the thoughts that pass in your mind, as you tread that consecrated spot. Give us with it, too, your own reflections on Death. Or, if you do not fancy a subject so rife with melancholy, — send me a Sketch of Longfellow. I love the man, and therefore I wish my friends to love him likewise.

Or, if you fancy neither of these subjects, choose one for yourself. I care not what you write on, so you put your varied power into full requisition. [page 94:] And, mind, I do not ask you to do this work for me for naught. Ton shall take some remuneration for the labor.

. . . All your notices will grace its pages, and I regret, deeply regret, that you had not sent me as many more. God Bless, Prosper, and Protect you from all danger, is the prayer of

Your Friend,
Th. W.White.


Portsmouth, July 20, 1841.

My Dear Griswold,

Just out of bed, and before shaving (think of that, Master Brooke) I am inditing a very brief epistle to each of my particular cronies on Tri-Mountain.

Imprimis, I send you for insertion in the Times and afterwards in the Notion or vice versa, a copy of verses which were enclosed In a letter addressed to your humble servant at our Portsmouth Fair last week. I can just guess the author, but dare not put her name to the piece. It has been shown to a few only and has never been printed, so it will come out capitally in your paper, which by the bye, is the only solace in the way of literature I have known since my sojourn.

I would write you a long letter setting forth how I have fished in the streams, sailed on the rivers, rode [sic] on the beach, kissed the girls under the hedges, and made rhymes for commencement, but time fails me and the Engine, like “Time and Tide,” waits for no man.

That I have enjoyed every moment since Wednesday last, a clear conscience and a sun-burnt phiz amply will testify. . . Here are the lines, and a benison on B. W. G. Yours very truly, ,

J. T.F[ields].


New York, July 26, 1841.

Rufe Gris:

Why in thunder did you go off on Saturday without seeing me or seeing Demorest? I anxiously wished something to be resolved on about our entangled business, but never a syllable did I get, or was there to get. Why didn’t you think of it? I beg you to do so at once. If Dem. and you dont want to take The New-Yorker, very well; but I want to know it soon, 80 that I may look out in other quarters. One way or another, I must dispose of it, and that speedily. Write me.

Another matter: You wrote me for a Kedge-Anchor something, and I got it and forwarded it promptly. But you promised me a copy of [page 95:] Parker’s Sermons long since and I have not seen the shadow of it yet. What can you say to that? No matter: This you must do: send me the vahie of my Kedge- Anchor (price $2) in Parlier’s Sermons, and do it right off. I want them for distribution. I have read a borrowed copy, and I like it scandalously. Now don’t disappoint me, I pray you, and write me what you think about the New-Yorker.

I have a letter this morning from W. H. Burleigh, with a good Poem. Dd him justice in your medley; his friends don’t ask any favors. He tells me his book sells, — which I marvel at, knowing its unmistakable excellence.

Let me know anything of interest.

Yours, etc.,
Horace Greeley.


Washington, July 28, 1841.

My Dear Sir:

Yours of the 6th I duly received. It will give me great pleasure to furnish you the biographies you mention upon the terms stated (for my circumstances will not suffer me to pursue my inclination in such matters).

. . . I have a poem by me of some 1800 lines which I should be glad to publish in Boston, for they get such things up well there, and there is a credit, of itself, in appearing in the poetical line from the press of the “literary Emporium.”

Prentice, Poe, Ingraham and others have seen the poem and pronounce It decidedly the best thing I have accomplished. I have had it by me three years awaiting the movement of the waters in the literary world. Have you ever thought of the international copyright Law? I trust in God that after we get a bank and a bankrupt[cy] bill, that this law will not be forgotten. In evSry other country but ours literary men are at the top of the heap. Look at France: Thiers, Guizot, etc., — see England. Here we are the poorest devils under the eye of “Ood’s shadow,” the sun. Hoping that these things may not always be, I sincerely sympathize with you, in your ardent desire to advance the interest of American Literature.

Yours truly,
F. W. Thomas.

Have you seen “Specimens of Western Poetry?” [“ Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West.” Cin’ti, U. P. James, 264 pp.] I am told the work is edited by W. D. Gallagher, who has put Mr. Gallagher’s poems first and longest! This may be Gallagher’s opinion of his own merits, but Prentice is the first poet of the West, if not ‘Amelia.’ G. is behind either of them. Don’t you think so? [page 96:]


New York, August 4, 1841.

Rufe Griswold.

Just hear me: If you let other People get Extras another time and I none, I’ll blow you up. now mind I If you had sent me 200 off the Atlas yesterday, they would have been Worth flO to me. Now dont make any excuses, but send me the Extras next time without fail. Send me aa many as they will give you for $10 from the Atlas or any other decent paper, and put them through by Harnden or Adams, even though an Express has gone on before. . .

Now about the Yorker; Demorest has given up all idea of taking it. I suspected he would do so from the first. Such an undecided, timid, shillyshally fellow I never attempted tddeal with, and I felt relieved when he gave up. Now if you can find any capable person who will take The New Yorker I shall be glad; if not, I don’t care. I shall break it down and start a weekly Tribune next month. . .

Nothing new here. The New World goes about like a rover, and The Tribune is doing better. I have great hopes of it, if you won’t continue to murder me in the matter of Extras. Do you hear? Also the Parker’s sermons. I understand the Jonathan is making money.

Baym. is away, and I have an awful sawney to help me. It gives me the toothache to look at him, let alone anything farther. He’s no good.

H. Greeley.


Richmond, Va., Sept. 12, 1841.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., My Friend, —

The notices you were kind enough to send me from Philadelphia came to hand, much to my regret, too late for my Sept. No. They are all in type and will be in the October number, (along with your just tribute t0 Goodrich), which I hope to have in as early at any rate as the first of October. The last form will go to press next Friday, before I could get a few more fresh notices from your pen. . .

Griswold, I have seen enough of you to make me love you. I have my eye on you, and, it may be, if you and I live a year or two longer, that I may have to call on you fbr help — help that I shall be able to pay you for.

In haste, Your Friend,
Th. W. White.

[page 97:]


Boston, Sept. 16, 1841.

My Dear Boy:

This is Epistle No. 3. Think of that and weep, oh, Rufus! What has become of the other 2 f Heaven only knows. . . In regard to B[radbury] and S[oden], poor Soden, I fear, is on his death bed. His partner told me this morning that matters had been arranged before his illness and you was to be co-editor of the new Mag. [‘The Boston Miscellany ’] at 91250 per annum. But as affitlrs stand now, I cannot tell what will be done.

The poem went off like a volcano: more anon. I am to repeat it at our Lyceum, 7th October and at Salem, the same week.

I send with this a package from Mr. Norton. Today I saw Dana at Brackett’s room. B. has finished a fine bust of him and also of Spragne.

All well and glad to hear of your recovery. Kiss the small Edition for Your friend and fellow sinner,

J. T. F[ields].


Boston, September 15th, 1841.

Friend Griswold: —

. . . Roberts has engaged [T: P. f\ Kettell, I believe, who commences today. . . Of how much advantage will it be to Roberts to change his editors so often?

Yours, etc.,
A. G. Tenny.


New Brighton, 22 September, 1841.


I . . . rejoice that before your work goes to press I shall be able to correct some errors. “Truth and Falsehood” Is not mine, and I know not even whose it is. The lines in answer to some of Willis’ are my brother John W. Wilde’s.

Very Resp’y, Your Obedient Servant,
R. H. Wilde.


Washington, Sept. 28, 1841.

My Dear Sir:

. . . I knew [E: Coate] Pinkney slightly. He was a very handsome man, punctilious to a fault, wayward, and Byronic, chivalrous and enthusiastic. . . I have always thought him the most original of our Poets. . . [page 98:] I think certainly that Flint and [J. H.] Perkins should have a place in your book. The former I never knew. Perkins I know very well. He is decidedly a man of original genius. He has written often and powerfully for the North American and other periodicals, and is the author of many sketches, which have much of the point of Charles Lamb in them. They are, if I may so express myself, between Lamb and Dickens, without imitating either. His poetry is not equal, at all, to his prose, I scarcely have a poem of his impressed upon my memory.

With regard to your humble servant — I was born in October 25, 1810, (I think it was October, but the family bible is in the far west, and I cannot compete with T. Shandy, Esq., who tells the hour he was begotten. — “Have you wound up the clock, Mr. Shandy?” etc.) [In letter of 8 Aug., Thomas wrote that he was born in 1806; the figures are distinct in both letters.]

. . . By the bye — I have a song by me, which has been set to music by a friend of mine here. The tune meets the approbation of several of the fair (his pupils and others, for he is a teacher of music) and I am anxious to have it published. I wiJl give the copyright of it gratis to any music publisher who will publish it. If to make the inquiry in the matter would not give you trouble — may I ask it of you? The song is of four verses, four Hues in a verse. If instead of “No song no supper” in these troublous times songs cannot even be given away — will you learn for me the cost of printing it? I would not ask you to make the inquiry for me, were there a music publisher here, but there is not.

By the bye Robert Tyler, one of the President’s sons, is a poet — did you know it? I do not say it because of his situation or his politics; but I say it because I have seen the MS. of a poem which he Is now writing, and I think, sincerely, he is a man of fine genius — and you, I believe, make a hit with this effort.

Let me hear from you soon. All that concerns literature or literary men is to me of the deepest interest — particularly that and those of “mine own countrie.”

Yours truly,
F. W. Thomas.


Concord, Sept. 26, 1841.

Dear Sir,

Jones Very is a native of Salem, the son of a. sea-captain who made many voyage to the north of Europe, in two of which he was accompanied [page 99:] by his son. He wrote his Essay ou Hamlet with the more interest from having twice seen Elsineur [sic]. After his father’s death, he prepared himself for college, and entered Harvard University in 1832, was graduated in 1836, and was appointed Greek Tutor in the College in the same year. Whilst he held this office, a religious enthusiasm took possession of his mind, which gradually produced so great a change in him that his friends withdrew him from Cambridge [and placed him for a short time in the M’Lean Asylum at Charlestown. His residence there produced little or no alteration and] he soon after went to Salem, where he wrote most of the poems in the little volume. He is now in a state of somewhat firmer health, I believe, but rarely writes any verses. In the Dial, No. V., you will find a brief notice of his Poems, written by me, to which I know not that I can add any thing excepting the few dates above written.

In regard to my own verses, I have printed them all either in the “Western Messenger,” in the same Number which contained the Humble-Bee, or the two or three following numbers, where they appeared with my name, — or in the Dial. As I do not happen to have in the house a copy of either of these Journals, I can only indicate those which I remember in the Dial. They are “The Problem;” Stanzas — “O fair and stately maid, whose eye etc.;” “Suum cuique;” “The Snow-storm;” “The Sphinx;” “Woodnotes No. I;” and “Wood Notes No. II” which appears in the forthcoming number for October, with a little piece called “Fate,” and another “Painting and Sculpture.” There may be more than these few, but I do not remember them. In answer to your request for dates of birth and education, I reply, I was born in Boston in 1808, and was graduated at Cambridge in 1821.

Will you allow me to call your attention to the few pieces in the Dial signed H. D. T. (or, by mistake, D. H. T.) which were written by Henry D. Thoreau, of this town, a graduate of Cambridge in the year 1837. Unless I am greatly mistaken, Mr. Thoreau already deserves and will more and more deserve your attention as a writer of American Poetry.

I hope these few facts may suffice as a reply to your inquiry. In regard to Mr. Very I draw bracketts over the lines which I think ought not now to be published. With good wishes for your success in your enterprise, I am

Yours respectfully,
R. W. Emerson.

[page 100:]


New York, Oct. 19, 1841.

My dear Sir [Graham]:

. . . Would you like to have an occasional poem from Professor Longfellow? I think I could get him to write for you at $20. He asks $25. I thank Mr. Poe heartily for his just notice — just as regards censure.

Yours faithfully,
Park Benjamin.

We read in Godwin’s life that Bryant, when asked to put a price upon the poems he contributed to the U. S. Gazette In 1828-25, suggested $2. each. This rate was raised by the publisher to 16 cents per line.


Richmond, Va., Oct. 20, 1841.

Rufus W. Griswold, Esq., My Dear Friend, —

“ ’Tis true — and pity ’tis, ’tis true,” — that I am confoundedly hard pressed still. For eight long years, have I been toiling for naught. All my energies, all my industry, all my tact, all my funds, — all — all, have been given to this pet [the Messenger] of mine. And for what? For a little Fame — for having it said that I had achieved what no one else could accomplish in our Southern States. Well, I have succeeded at last, I believe, in placing my publication on a solid foundation — on a foundation that will last, at least, as long as I shall last. Next year I mean to go for making money, and make it I will, if application can accomplish so desirable a desideratum. [He died 19 January 1848.]

Thank you for your occasional help. Your notices of publications, pithy as they are, give information that is desirable and much needed. AH that you have sent me I have used. . .

If I had not become so accustomed to disappointments, you would have caused my “mouth to water” for the delicious food you have promised me, for my next. If it comes, I shall roll it “under my tongue” as a most precious morsel.

Presuming you will have no objection to a little help, I send you a check for $6.25, and my note for $14.75. Take the trouble, if you please, to call on the Harpers. I will ask them to cash It for you. It will, I hope, be worth to you in it’s full face, $18.75, which will make $20, I will have sent you. (Mind the Harpers do not owe me a dollar on earth, nor have I any claims on them. Still they are my friends, and therefore it is that I think they will accommodate you and me). In great haste,

Your Friend,
Th. W. White.

[page 101:]


Richmond, Va., Oct. 29, 1841.

Rufus W. Griswold, Esq., My Dear Friend, —

. . . Let me get the favor of you to read “The Hunchback,” so far as it goes — and to give your opinion of it, freely and candidly. It strikes me as being very fine — very far superior to any novel-writing that has issued from the American press for the 20 past years. I have here an able co-laborer Heath [?] . . .

Your Friend,
Th. W. White.

Griswold had become one of the editors of the Philadelphia ‘Gazette.’


Near the Sources of Salt River, New York, Nov. 5, 1841.

Friend Gris:

I haven’t done anything I promised you — and why? Because I couldn’t. I went to see Mr. Root on Tuesday, but could find nothing out. Root did not know her [Mrs. Sigourney] till she lived in Hartford. Sol have no data; and where can I get any? I don’t know, I’m sure. So I do nothing, and wait to hear from you.

Raymond is still down on his luck; I fear he will never be well. We apprehend he has Bronchitis tending to Consumption.

Aren’t we horribly smashed up in this State? We haven’t a grease-spot left — Assembly, Senate, Canal-Board, Appointments, all — All gone, and forgot the light we saw breakWg.’ Yours, with a broken back and a heavy heart,

Horace Greeley.


[10 Nov., 1841.?]

My dear Gris: —

I return herewith Brainard with a sketch of his life comprising what I wished to say of him though ofttimes not expressed as I would have it. You must look it over, reconcile any inconsistences and correct any errors, either in thought or style, which you may discover. The opinions expressed are such as I really entertain, tho’ If they don’t suit your notions or your purposes, of course you must change them till they do so. I’m getting well fast and shall soon be able to take my seat in the office again. I shall leave this with Greeley and it will go to Philadelphia sometime tho’ I know not when. I trust it will not be too late. Dd you wish me to do anything for the Southern Literary Messenger? If so what? I can do it now at any time.

Yours faithfully,
H. J. Raymond.


[page 102:]

New York, Nov. 18, 1841.

Dear Gris:

Your note and book received. Having got the right sort of a letter from Burleigh, I have set right down and written you an upset of it, so as to be sure of it. I know this is not the thing you want, it is too diffuse and flowing; but I think you need only strike out a portion here and there, and change a few words to make all right. I can’t tell just what will be your fashion of treating living writers, so I put in all, and leave you to cut out at your discretion. How could I do better? I shall try to plaster over Mrs. Sigourney tomorrow; but you know how bad a job it is. As it won’t do to say a word of her real history, how will it be possible to say any think? . . .

H. Greeley.


New York, Nov. 17, 1841.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., My Friend:

Have you got my Biography of Burleigh? It is too long and precise, but you can cut it down, I think, with little trouble.

I have just done up Mrs. Sigourney by neglecting my own business entirely. . . This isn’t a good biography; I’ve lost the list of her works, but that is no loss at all. The biography is less humdrum without it. You can carve and plaster to suit your taste.

Raymond is getting up, but good for nothing yet. I have Mrs. Ellet to write for you — that is all, I believe. I will try to dd that sometime soon, and have it off my mind.

Now write me a few racy, spicy — not personal, far less malignant [letters] depicting Society and Life in Philadelphia. Soon, mind. Where’s Eldredge?

Gris, don’t have it known that you are connected with the Philadelphia Gazette. It will kill you. I never knew such a Thersites. You could not have written that attack on Rob. Walsh, certainly. Write me.

[H. Greeley.]


Boston. 18 Nov., 1841.

My Dear Sir:

Some time since you and I had a conversation upon the subject of the Editorship of the Boston Transcript, at which time you expressed yourself in favor of some arrangement with this Paper. I should be happy to hear from you upon the subject and learn your views in relation to an [page 103:] arrangement, — such particulars, I mean, as to enable me to judge of the terms on which an arrangement with you could be effected. . .

Yours truly,
James A. G. Otis.


New York, Nov. 23, 1841.

Dear Gris:

Keep up heart and hope. I trust you are not so ill as you think, though you are bent on killing yourself with calomel and carelessness ere long. But you must not go until your great work Is out: after that you can afford to die. If you are taken dangerously ill — I mean in danger of not being able to oversee it — be sure you leave it in good hands. . .

We are doing middling well — not more. Be careful of what life is left in you, and turn Grahamite.

H. Greeley.


Boston, Dec. 12,1841.

My dear Rufus:

. . . In regard to the ages of those individual poets, not one will tell in what year he saw the light, so you will be obliged to say nothing on that head. . .

Dana was in a few days since and asked for you, was very sorry to hear you had been ill. Longfellow has been out of health but is now, I believe, recovered. He always inquires for you. Tuckerman is now at my elbow and says “my best regards to R. W. G.”

I cannot get out of those fellows when the Lord made them, or I would gladly give you the dates. They all seem delicate as a spinster on that point, so you must give it up.

Allston has just accepted the office of President of a new Artists society, got up in this city, a few days since. Braham is here, antiquating melody most abominably. Jane Sloman carries everything before her, and the “Circus is now open.” This is all of news I can indite. We are dull on that point. One of our largest houses is in hot water. If they (the firm) get out it will be with a scald at least. I refer to Hilliard, Gray A Co. . . In great haste.

Very truly Yours,
J. T. F [ields].


1 Jan., 1842.

My Dear Friend [Keese]:

Positively Mr. Griswold is the kindest, most generous and amiable man I ever yet knew. The impression he made on me the first moment I ever saw him, has continued in all its warmth and force. [page 104:]

He made an excuse that it was too late to call on Mr. Benjamin, in order to get me to go borne with him. I have just returned loaded with books, autographs and engravings, rich and rare, and yet I feel as if they were the least — the manner of conferring the favors, the sweet amiable manner, increased them tenfold. I could do anything to serve such an amiable being. I feel indeed your debtor, for introducing me to Mr. Griswold, and only wish I knew how to show my gratitude both to you and him. . . Ever gratefully and faithfully yours,

R. Balmanno.


87 Murray St., New York, Jan. 11, 1843.

My Dear Griswold; —

. . . That scrap which I gave you for the Memoir — omit or shape it as you think best. I am sorry now I suggested the Mirror — for if everyone mentions his year of editorship poor Morris, I fear, would be marked as the court gallant in the play — when one claims the cloak, one the feathered beaver, and a third his doublet, until the unlucky Magnifico is only left a shirt to shrive in.

You might lump the matter in this way — “became the proprietor of the American Monthly in March, ‘85, and during the three or four following years, while the chief editor of the same, as well as subsequently, his pen was also busy in the Mirror, New Yorker, and other journals, in all of which, among a variety of subjects, he wrote zealously in favor of international copyright.”

Now for God’s sake don’t keep this to put into your curiosities of literature under the head of “whimwhams of egotistical authors.” My friend, it is no whim wham! I have a deep design in it. The fact is, I have such a devil of a bad reputation for laziness that I want to get credit in your book for every atom of industry that really belongs to me, and that without jostling the fame of others. Who has worked harder . . . than Morris? Tell me, thou biographical Warwick, — “the setter up and puller down of Kings” (poetic ones).

Ever yours truly,
C. F. Hoffman.


New York, Feb. 18, 1842.

R. W. Griswold,

I have delivered my Lecture here, and got a few copies printed for my own use. I send you one by this mail, which yon will keep out of [page 105:] the dirty hands of all type-stickers, for the present. I am going to repeat it at Newark a week from Monday evening, and of course don’t mean Id publish it yet, nor before the 1st of April. But it bus some good thoughts, and I wouid like a chance of trying it on to a Philadelphia audience, if I could get a right good one. Is this thing practicable? I know there are hardly a hundred persons In Philadelphia who know of me, yet if one of your Lecture Associations should have a hole in their programme, they might call me to fill it, if suggested. Now, mind; I don’t want a chance begged; I don’t want to come to Philadelphia to lecture to a school-room full of loafers. But if the right thing is practicable within a fortnight or so, you will know it, and can arrange it. If not, say no more about it, but keep my Lecture close. If I come, I should expect to be paid my expenses at least, though that would be no object. What I want is a hearing. So much for fun: Now to business. Bisbee dunned me today to write sketches of the leading Editors of the Country for a new monthly periodical. I told him I would do it only with your co-operation — that I could rather lick you in solid writing, but In universal knowledge of men and things — in Literary cooperism, you were boss, decidedly. Well, he agreed to write you today. Now, Gris, I write to say; ask a fair price for doing it, and stipulate how it is to be done. I think about two pages to each person, and six editors to a number, would be the load. They will probably be illustrated. Now if this thing is to be done, it ought to be worth $5 a biography or Portrait (to be divided between Stern hold and Hopkins) and it must be kept utterly a secret. If it is known to these persons who is doing it, it won’t be done at all. The Biog’s must be perfectly impartial and conscientious, or they will be drivel and fall dead.

This is all for once. Read my Lecture tomorrow evening; take a strong cup of tea and put a piece of ice in the back of your neck, and you’ll get through it. Then give me a thorough criticism in one page.

Horace Greeley.


Richmond, Va., 9th March, 1848.

Dear Griswold,

‘Tis not every man who ought to have influence that has it. I have known Upshaw [the Secretary of the Navy] long and intimately. I ever have been, as I still am, his warm friend and admirer. Still I have not the vanity to believe that I have the least influence with him.

What I think of yourself , and of your claims, I shall endorse in this. If not what yea desire, fashion a paper for yourself, send it on to me and I [page 106:] will adopt it as my own. I like you much, and liking you am willing to do all for you that lies in my power. . . In great haste. Your friend,

T. W. W[hite].


New York. March 22, 1842.

Dear Gris,

. . . We got out our double sheet Daily this morning, and I respectfully submit that it is no small potatoes. (25,000 to 30,000 copies.) I had to fight to get in the tall puff of ‘The Poets’ which you will find in the best place in the paper, but I did get it in, while a great many others were left out, which I had promised, and meant to get in. If ‘The Poets’ dd not sell, the fault shall not be mine.

When will you be on? I want you to bring me a right good copy to keep, and an ordinary one to write notices from, which I don’t mind paying cost for. I want to write a Review for the Southern Literary, but don’t know how to begin on the proof-sheets I have with me. However, I must try, if you are not here by Saturday.

Can you find any materials in Philadelphia for my ‘Life and Eloquence of John Randolph?? or for my ‘Life of Capt. John Smith?’ which you have not already? The latter is to be got up soon, between you and I, as soon as you are a free man.

H. Greeley.


April 20, 1843.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., Dear Sir:

Have you fully determined on assuming the Chaplaincy and to abandon the editorial chair? Or could you find it in your heart to locate In Philadelphia? Let me hear from you as I have a proposal to make.

I like your book much. We received it from Carey and Hart yesterday, and although it will give offence to a few, it will be popular, and please every man of taste.

G. R. Graham.


May 8, 1842.

R. W. Griswold, Esq., Dear Sir,

Your letter I should have acknowledged ere this — but have overlooked the closing sentence. I am glad that you agree to our proposal, and we shall be ready to give you the “right hand of fellowship.” as soon as ‘orders are taken.’ Mr. P[eterson] is right. The salary [is] to be $1,000 [page 107:] per annum. We shall hope to see the light of your countenance soon. Do you know how I could get full length drawings of Longfellow, Bryant, Irving, and other authors?

G. R. Graham.


New York, May 16, 1842.

Rufus W. Griswold, Reverend Sir:

Can’t you contrive to be in the City next week a few days just to kiss your babies and attend to my business? Raymond wants to be off; I have had lawsuits to attend to, and want to be able to be off, and I fear The Tribune will suffer. I will give you $20 to work for me four days, commencing Tuesday morning and ending Friday night. Now don’t come to oblige me; but if you can spare yourself, and happen to want to come to ‘York,’ why you will accommodate me, and not at your own charge.

H. Greeley.

P. S. — Why didn’t you ask me to announce your connection with Graham? Raym hasn’t half done it. Always come to headquarters.

H. G.


New York, May 19th, 1842.

My dear Griswold,

I have requested the Harpers to send you a copy of my little book. Please keep the authorship a secret, and if you can get the accompanying notices published, one in the North American, and the other in the Evening Journal, without betraying it, do so. I shall be much obliged, and will cheerfully reciprocate the favor at any time. Nothing new. Pray send me the [Saturday Evening] Post occasionally. I have an article for the Mag. in preparation. Yours truly. My dear G.,

Epes Sargent.


New York, May 20, 1842.

R. W. Gris.

I came down from Dutchess County this morning. I went up night before last to attend a Tariff Convention, and we had a right good one. I have hardly ever enjoyed a more refreshing season.

I found yours here. All right; I shall get along perfectly well. Raymond went off to see somebody night before last; so the T. had to go pretty much alone yesterday. It did it very well, however.

I mean to start on my Western tour a fortnight from tonight. I have [page 108:] two libel suits next week, one of them at Saratoga. So you see business is brisk, notwithstanding the hard times.

Gris., Do you know I am going West soon, and want my copy of the Poets to take along? That’s the fact, anyhow. You know I gave mine up to Seaton, and you have postponed replacing it. Send me a decent copy and I’ll take my Library copy when you get out your corrected edition.

Remember me and don’t fail to write.

Horace Greeley.


The portraits of authors (steel engravings) published in Graham’s Magazine were, for the greater part, failures, both as likenesses and as pictures. But that of Willis was an exception, a handsomer man than he was, according to this view, never was sketched.

[By permission of Mrs. J. T. Fields.]

New York, May 20, 1842.

My dear Sir [Graham]:

I send you a tale ad punctum temporis — two months before, as per order. If you dd not like this story I am in despair. It is my best, says Mrs. Willis. . . Will you trouble yourself to look at the New Mirror. With this number I began to edit it, and I trust it will please you. I have not yet begun to write the literary notices, but shall.

By the way, three weeks ago I gave Mr. Dick a Sketch to take on to you. He did not go, however, and I took Griswold in to see it. He thought it excellent, and I think it could not be bettered. In haste,

Yours very faithfully,
N. P. Willis.







[S:0 - WMG, 1898] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Passages from the Correspondence and Other Papers of Rufus W. Griswold [Section 02] (W. M. Griswold, 1898)