Text: Dwight R. Thomas, “Chapter 06: [Part II: June-Dec] 1842,” Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (1978), pp. 385-487


[page 385, continued:]

CHAPTER VI: 1842 [[part II]]


June, 1842

JUNE: Graham's Magazine publishes an unfavorable review of Bulwer's novel Zanoni.

NOTE: The review is included in the Harrison edition of Poe's Works, XI, 115-23; but in his June 4 letter to Joseph Evans Snodgrass, Poe emphasized that neither he nor Rufus W. Griswold had written this critique, describing it as “the handiwork of some underling who has become imbued with th[e] fancy of a pin . ... Mr Poe's peculiarities of diction.”

JUNE: Charles J. Peterson reviews Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America for Graham's Magazine. [page 386:]

NOTE: This unsigned critique is also included in the Harrison edition of Poe's Works, XI, 124-26. It is the only review in the June Graham's attributed to Poe in William D. Hull's “Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe,” Diss. Virginia 1941, p. 13; but in The Mind of Poe and Other Studies (1933; rpt. New York: Russell &Russell, 1962), pp. 224-25, Killis Campbell examined the review's authorship and found “Poe's title extremely questionable.” There are two cogent arguments which Campbell did not make, but which corroborate his conclusion. One is the fact that Poe had left the staff of Graham's Magazine at least several weeks before Griswold's anthology was issued around April 18. Moreover, the anonymous reviewer uses James Russell Lowell as the principal example of Griswold's inadequate appreciation of “some of our younger poets”:

A glaring instance of this is the case of LOWELL, a young poet, to whom others than ourselves have assigned a genius of the highest rank. We would have been better pleased to have seen a more liberal notice of his poems. We know that, with the exception of “Rosaline,” better selections might have been made from his works. A few years hence, Mr. Griswold himself will be amazed that he assigned no more space to LOWELL than to M’Lellan, Tuckerman, and others . ... .

Charles J. Peterson had voiced these opinions in his April 25, 1842, letter to Lowell; he also indicated that he intended to review Griswold's anthology.

JUNE: Graham's Magazine publishes Rufus W. Griswold's poem “Sights from My Window — Alice.”

NOTE: In reviewing the June number for The Spirit of the Times, May 28, p. 2, col. 3, John S. Du Solle commented that “The poem, by Griswold, is pretty.” Another favorable reaction to the poem is entered in the chronology for [page 387:] June 10, but several of Poe's friends were not sympathetic to Griswold's verses. For the reactions of Jesse E. Dow, Thomas Holley Chivers, and Daniel Bryan, see the chronology for June 2, 11, and July 26, respectively.

EARLY JUNE: Poe writes his friend James Herron: “You have learned, perhaps, that I have retired from ‘Graham's Magazine’. The state of my mind has, in fact, forced me to abandon for the present, all mental exertion. The renewed and hopeless illness of my wife, ill health on my own part, and pecuniary embarrassments, have nearly driven me to distraction. My only hope of relief is the ‘Bankrupt Act’, of which I shall avail myself as soon as possible.” Virginia Poe is “again dangerously ill with hemorrhage from the lungs.” But not all Poe's news is bad: “I have the promise of a situation in our Custom-House. The offer was entirely unexpected &gratuitous. I am to receive the appointment upon removal of several incumbents — the removal to be certainly made in a month. I am indebted to the personal friendship of Robert Tyler. If I really receive the appointment all may yet go well.” Poe congratulates Herron: “I sincerely rejoice in your good fortune; or rather in the success which you so well earned and deserved . ... .”

NOTE: Letters, I, 198-99. Herron, a civil engineer and inventor, was a native Virginian, and he may have possibly , made Poe's acquaintance during his editorship of the Southern Literary Messenger. At the time of the present letter Herron seems to have been living in Washington.

This letter, which exists as an undated manuscript fragment, was written after Poe's May 25 letter to Frederick William Thomas, but before his June 30 letter to Herron. The “success” which Poe mentioned was Herron's invention of the trellis railway track. On June 8, 1842, The Spirit of the [page 388:] Times, p. 2, col. 5, reported:

HERRON's TRELLIS RAILWAY TRACK. — We observe, by a late number of the Baltimore Patriot, that the trellis track invented by Mr. James Herron, of Virginia, has surpassed every other invention of its kind, and, of course, bids fair to realize a large fortune for the lucky engineer — although, perhaps, we are wrong in applying such an epithet as lucky to a gentleman whose success so eminently depends upon talent and scientific acquirement.

The species of track invented by Mr. H. has been now tested, for two years, on a steep grade and contracted curve of the Baltimore and Susquehannah Railroad, and is, at this day, as perfect, in every particular, as when laid down. The company have not had a single stroke of work done upon it, nor expended a single dollar. ... .

Like The Spirit, Poe attributed Herron's success to ability rather than to good fortune (see also his June 30 letter).

JUNE l: “Umbra,” a Philadelphia correspondent of the Washington Independent, sends a dispatch to this Whig newspaper:

The blow which was to have fallen on the head of the Collector of this port, it is now said, is to be suspended until the adjournment of Congress. That is to say, the President dare not attempt the enforcement of his illegal orders while Congress is in session, through fear of being exposed to the justly merited contempt of the nation; but he will enjoy a brief exercise of Executive tyranny, when he is released from responsibility to his Constitutional advisers. ... .

NOTE: The Independent, June 10, p. 1, col. 5. President Tyler wished to replace the incumbents in the Philadelphia Custom House, who were supporters of Henry Clay, with his own followers (see the chronology for April 27, 1842). Jonathan Roberts, the Collector of Customs, had refused to make the necessary changes, and the President intended to remove him from office. Most of the members of Congress, [page 389:] being Whigs, would have objected to the President's planned course of action.

JUNE 2: In The Index, p. 2, Col. 3, Jesse E. Dow publishes a scathing critique of Griswold's poem “Sights from My Window — Alice”:

We have often asked those whose course of light reading was more extensive than our own, to tell us what Rufus W. Griswold, the self-constituted critic among the poets of his country, had written; but no one could name a. piece of his composition of the length of a brad. awl

Judge, then., of our surprise, upon opening the Magazine of the intellectual and indefatigable Graham for June, to find Rufus W. Griswold's Addled Egg — and such an egg! — no wonder the press crackled when such a pullet laid. It would have caused the muses to forsake Helicon in the days of Grecian glory, and made Homer himself forget his rhapsodies, and open his blind old eyes to behold it.

Dow continues his criticism for the better part of a column, reprinting various stanzas from this poem by “Mr. Rueful Grizzle, the Sight seer,” and providing them with devastating exegeses. He sarcastically refers to the author of “Sights from My Window — Alice” as “the greatest poet of America — the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold, L.L.D. and A.S.S.”

NOTE: Dow had previously published a similar commentary on a poem by Thomas Dunn English (see the chronology for November 27, 1841).

JUNE 3: In reviewing the June number of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion for The Index, p. 2, col. 2, Jesse E. Dow comments on the poetry of a frequent contributor: “We see Snowden still sticks to Dr. DUNN ENGLISH; and, by the way, the DOCTOR has improved since we gave him a TONIC; his last poem is positively readable.” [page 390:]

JUNE 4: In the New World (Vol. 4, p. 367), Park Benjamin praises “EDGAR A. POE — We regard this gentleman as one of the best writers of the English language now living. His style is singularly pure and idiomatic. He never condescends to affectations, but writes with a nervous clearness, that inspires the reader with a perpetual confidence in his powers. Mr. Poe has left Mr. Graham's Magazine; but in whatever sphere he moves, he will surely be distinguished.”

NOTE: Poe identified Benjamin as the author of this notice when he quoted it in the Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, p. 1, col. 4.

JUNE 4: Poe Writes George Roberts, editor of the Boston Notion, and Joseph Evans Snodgrass, editor of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. In each letter he tells his correspondent that he has just completed a new tale entitled “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” which is closely based upon the still unsolved murder of Mary Rogers. In his story Poe reveals a novel approach to this famous New York City murder case, and he believes that he has actually “indicated the assassin.” For reasons which he will not specify, Poe does not wish to publish “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” in Graham's Magazine; and he offers to sell it to each correspondent for much less than this periodical would pay.

NOTE: Each of Poe's two June 4 letters also appears as a separate entry in the chronology. For information on the relation between his tale and the Mary Rogers case, see John Walsh's Poe the Detective. The circumstances under which these two letters were written are not fully understood. No speculation has been advanced which would convincingly explain why Poe did not wish to publish his [page 391:] story in Graham's Magazine or in one of the Philadelphia weekly newspapers, and why he offered it simultaneously to two editors. He seems to have given little consideration to the difficulty inherent in basing a mystery story upon an unsolved murder: the tale's denouement could momentarily become inappropriate if the actual crime were to be solved in an unexpected fashion, the actual murderer proving to be someone quite different from the fictional villain. Before the publication of “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” was completed, Poe must have become acutely aware of this shortcoming in his technique (see the chronology for November 19, 1842).

JUNE 4: Poe writes George Roberts, editor of the Boston Notion. Roberts may remember “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” a tale whose “theme was the exercise of ingenuity in the detection of a. murderer.” Poe has “just completed a similar article,” which will be entitled “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt — a Sequel to the Murders in the Rue Morgue.” He explains:

The story is based upon the assassination of Mary Cecilia Rogers, which created so vast an excitement, some months ago, in New-York. I have, however, handled my design in a manner altogether novel in literature. I have imagined a series of nearly exact coincidences occurring in Paris. A young grisette, one Marie Roget, has been murdered under precisely similar circumstances with Mary Rogers. Thus, under pretence of showing how Dupin (the hero of “The Rue Morgue[”)] unravelled the mystery of Marie's assassination, I, in reality, enter into a very long and rigorous analysis of the New-York tragedy. No point is omitted. I examine, each by each, the opinions and arguments of the press upon the subject, and show that this subject has been, hitherto, unapproached. In fact, I believe not only that I have demonstrated the fallacy of the general idea — that the girl was the victim of a gang of ruffians — but have indicated the assassin in a manner which will give renewed impetus to investigation. [page 392:] Because of “the nature of the subject,” Poe is certain “that the article will excite attention”; and he believes that Roberts might wish “to purchase it for the forthcoming Mammoth Notion.” The story would occupy twenty-five pages of Graham's Magazine, and “at the usual price” it would be worth one hundred dollars to Poe. But he adds: “For reasons . ... which I need not specify, I am desirous of having this tale printed in Boston, and, if you like it, I will say $50. Will you please write me upon this point? — by return of mail, if possible.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 199-200. The Boston Notion was a widely circulated weekly newspaper of folio size. Roberts presumably did not accept Poe's offer; “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” was eventually published in three installments in the November, December, 1841, and February, 1842, numbers of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion.

JUNE 4: Poe writes Joseph Evans Snodgrass that he is “just now putting the concluding touch” to “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” He describes his new story in detail. For reasons which he may mention later, he wishes to publish it in Baltimore; and he offers to sell it to the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for forty dollars. He asks Snodgrass to reply “by return of mail.” Poe is glad that his correspondent has become “sole proprietor” of the Visiter, and he thanks him for “many flattering notices of myself.” He asks: “How is it, nevertheless, that a Magazine of the highest class has never yet succeeded in Baltimore? I have often thought, of late, how much better it would have been had you joined me in a magazine project in the Monumental City, rather than engage with the ‘Visiter’ . ... . Rufus W. Griswold's anthology The Poets and Poetry of America is “a most outrageous humbug”; Snodgrass should [page 393:] use it up.” Poe is indignant that no announcement of his withdrawal from Graham's Magazine is given in the June number; and he composes a long notice of his departure, which he requests Snodgrass to publish as an editorial in the Visiter. In this article Poe emphasizes that neither he nor Griswold could have written the “exceedingly ignorant and flippant; review of ‘Zanoni’ which appears in the June number”: this criticism seems to be “the handiwork of some underling” who is characterized by “the conceit, ignorance and flippant impertinence of an ass.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 201-03. The Maryland Historical Society holds all issues of the Visiter for 1842. A search of this file revealed that Snodgrass did not “use up” Griswold's anthology, as Poe suggested. Neither did he publish Poe's notice of his departure from Graham's Magazine.

JUNE 6: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, John S. Du Solle reports that Thomas Dunn English is writing a biography of President Tyler, with the assistance of Henry B. Hirst:

WHAT OFFICE DO THEY WANT? — Thomas Done Brown, Esq., is writing, we learn from his Arcade -ian retreat, a biography of President Tyler. His particular shadow, the burnt “Bread Crust,” has agreed to interpolate the “verses.” Mr. Tyler will have to keep his eye on these “juvenile esculents.”

NOTE: English's biography of President Tyler was published around November 17, 1842 (see the chronology). Information on the Arcade, an imposing marble structure situated on the north side of Chestnut Street between Sixth and Seventh, may be found in Joseph Jackson's Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, I, 98-99. [page 394:]

ANTE JUNE 7: Poe addresses a letter to Charles Dickens at New York City, reminding him of a “mission . ... already entrusted . ... by word of mouth.”

NOTE: This letter is mentioned in Dickens’ November 27, 1842, letter to Poe. The dating is established by Dickens’ statement in American Notes, II, 227, that he departed New York for England on June 7. From his November 27 letter it is clear that the “mission” Poe entrusted to him when they met in Philadelphia, circa March 7, was to find a publisher for an English edition of his tales.

JUNE 10: The Washington Independent, p. 3, cols. 2-3, publishes a letter from an admirer of Rufus W. Griswold and his Poets and Poetry of America:

PHILADELPHIA, June 4, 1842 .

GENTLEMEN — Can you reconcile it to your sense of justice to permit an anonymous scribbler like “Flash” to use your columns for conveying to the public his concealed malignity against the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold? If not, I trust you will be , ready to make some amends to this injured gentleman, for the admission into your columns of the ill-natured remark of Flash, that Mr. Griswold's book is a “tolerable compilation (!!!) of American Poetry, which, however, is being rather heavily dosed with over-puffing.”

This “damning with faint praise,” and aim to destroy by a pointless sneer, are probably emanating from the pen of some would-be poet, who resents the disappointment of his desire for immortality, in the failure of his hope to have his name embalmed in Mr. Griswold's magnificent monument to his own and his country's genius. But as the champion of that gentleman's reputation thus insidiously assailed, I call upon you as honorable and upright men, to publish in your paper the production of Mr. Griswold's muse which graces the last number of Graham's Magazine, entitled “Sights from my window — Alice,” that all your readers may have an opportunity of estimating, for themselves, the poetical powers and [page 395:] taste of that gifted writer.


NOTE: The Independent, col. 3, reprinted Griswold's “Sights from My Window — Alice” beneath this letter from “Anti-Flash”; the remarks by “Flash” which elicited his protest are reproduced in the chronology for May 31. For additional information on this controversy, see the chronology for June 17, 1842.

JUNE 11: Thomas Holley Chivers, in Middletown, Connecticut, addresses a letter to Poe as the editor of Graham's Magazine. He encloses his “Invocation to Spring” and several other poems for possible publication in the magazine. Chivers makes “some critical remarks on the ‘wishy-washy’ verses” Rufus W. Griswold has published in Graham's.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Poe's July 6 reply and from Chivers’ note on this reply. According to Ostrom, Letters, II, 698, “on the second page of the MS. [of Poe's July 6 letter] Chivers wrote: ‘In the letter, enclosing these Poems [i.e., his June 11 letter], I made some critical remarks on the “wishy-washy” verses published by Mr Griswold in Graham's Magazine which greatly offended him — for which I have reason to believe he [Griswold] never forgave me — although what was therein written was intended] for the eyes only of Mr Poe.’” Presumably, Chivers objected to Griswold's poem “Sights from My Window — Alice,” as did Jesse E. Dow and Daniel Bryan (see the chronology for June 2 and July 26). Chivers’ note suggests that his June 11 letter passed into Griswold's Possession before being forwarded to Poe, as did Bryan's May 13 letter. [page 396:]

JUNE 13: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James Gates Percival:

Having recently become editor of Graham's Magazine, a monthly periodical published in this city, I have endeavored to secure for it an improved list of writers, and have succeeded in engaging Mr Bryant and some others, in addition to the old corps, which included Prof. Longfellow, Mr Hoffman, Mr, Willis, and many beside who are accustomed to write for the magazines.

I respectfully solicit articles by yourself, and state the terms wh. Mr Graham will maintain for any period you may choose. For any poem, from your pen, — sonnet, song, or fragment — he will pay ten dollars — a small price, — too small, I fear, to influence you — but as large as, just at this time, in consequence of the wretched condition of business, he thinks he can afford.

I have been informed that in one or two instances magazine publishers have been negligent of their obligations to you, and have remained your debtors. Excuse a reference to this fact, if fact it be; I mention it only as a reason for assuring you that no such fault will ever be found with Mr Graham. Should you forward anything for his magazine the price will immediately be sent to you in current money. A poem from our pen will be regarded as a draft payable at sight.

NOTE: MS, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Percival (1795-1856) was a Connecticut poet and physician. Griswold proved more adept in enlisting popular contributors for Graham's Magazine than Poe had been. According to Bayless, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, pp. 55, 268, he wrote William Cullen Bryant on June 19, 1842, offering him fifty dollars for each poem. Bryant's first contribution to Graham's appeared in the August, 1842, number. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, offered the same remuneration, expressed his readiness to write for Graham's alone (see his November 27, 1842, letter to Griswold). In the July 16, 1842, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, George R. Graham was able to announce several important additions to the [page 397:] monthly's list of regular contributors (see the chronology).

JUNE 17: On its first page the Washington Independent, col. 6, publishes a long letter from a correspondent in Philadelphia who signs himself “I. H. S.” This correspondent has seen several articles in The Independent debating the merits of Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America, and he wishes to defend this author and his book:

With Mr. Griswold I have no personal acquaintance, but I understand that he is a young man of singular modesty, who spends such hours as a disease which is inevitably fatal in its conclusion allows, in literary labor. ... . “The Poets and Poetry of America,” will show that the foundation for a National Literature in this country is broader and deeper than people are wont to suppose. Those who look into the book are astonished to find we have produced with our leather and prunella, so much true poesie. ... . As I before remarked, the book is singularly free from puffery, and I have noticed with satisfaction that in not a single instance has Mr. Griswold instituted any of the comparisons so common and so ridiculous between our bards and the great geniuses of the motherland. He gives us no “American Miltons,” “American Cowpers,” “American Byrons,” or “American Hemanses.” His work is of great value, and in all respects, I have no doubt, is much better than any other man in America could have produced. ... .

NOTE: Griswold was suffering from tuberculosis, a disease which then had no cure.

JUNE 17: On its third page the Washington Independent, col. 6, publishes another letter from “Flash”:

PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 1842.

To the Editors of the Independent:

GENTLEMEN: I am sorry to see that the remarks I [page 398:] made concerning Griswold's “Poets of America,” should have excited such bitterness of feeling, on the part of the author's friends, as manifested in the communication of “Anti-Flash.” “Anti-Flash” advances a claim of “genius” for Mr. Griswold, on account of the success of his compilation — for a compilation, his work is, such as any one of ordinary poetical taste could compose. It is the first time I ever heard that it required “a genius” to be a compiler. The merit of the work belongs to the character of the poetry it contains, and is entirely separate from the question of capacity or incapacity in its editor. I am willing to admit that Mr. Griswold has shown a proper discrimination in his selections, and that his biographical notices are satisfactory — that the binder and [the] printer have done their duty; but beyond this, I do not see that Mr. Griswold has much to boast of. Mr. Griswold is a lively and elegant writer of prose and poetry, and a very fair and impartial critic, though the sponsor, as editor of Graham's Magazine, of the malignant, unjust, and disgraceful attacks on the literary character of its former editor, Mr. Poe. ... .


NOTE: Flash's original remarks on Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America are entered in the chronology for May 31; the letter “Anti-Flash” sent The Independent is reproduced in the chronology for June 10. In his June 27 letter to Poe, Daniel Bryan alluded to Flash's communication in The Independent for June 17, and Poe asked the Alexandria postmaster for additional information in his July 6 reply. In his July 11 letter Bryan incorrectly stated that Flash alleged that Graham's Magazine had published. “attacks” on Poe. In fact, Flash asserted that Griswold had been “the sponsor” of “malignant, unjust, and disgraceful attacks” on Poe's “literary character.” His communication to The Independent is noteworthy because it may be the first explicit reference to the animosity between Poe and Griswold to appear in print, and because it suggests that Griswold may have voiced [page 399:] criticisms of Poe among the Philadelphia literati, even if he did not publish them in Graham's. Evidence that these two men were not on good terms during the summer of 1842 may be found in Poe's June 4 letter to Joseph Evans Snodgrass, his July 6 letter to Daniel Bryan, and his September 12 letter to Frederick William Thomas, and in Griswold's August 12 and September 7 letters to James T. Fields.

JUNE 17: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle comments upon the success of George R. Graham:

A SPLENDID ESTABLISHMENT. — Our enterprising friend Graham, of the Ladies and Gentleman's Magazine, we perceive, has established himself in his new location, next to the Ledger building, corner of Third and Chesnut street. His show windows are among the most imposing in town — magnificent pictures, splendidly bound volumes, beautiful magazines, together with all kinds of elegant articles for use and ornament. We are glad to see Graham prospering. He is a clever fellow, and a capital hand to push business.

JUNE 18: In The Index, p. 2, col. 2, Jesse E. Dow reacts to the present editor of Graham's Magazine: “Graham has fitted up a new office for Rueful Grizzle. He will see more sights soon. Bah!”

JUNE 21: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, reports: “PICKPOCKET. — Mr. Rufus W. Griswold, associate editor of Graham's Magazine, came near having his pocket picked, on the Jersey Ferryboat, while crossing over to New York, as a passenger in the evening train of cars from Philadelphia.”

NOTE: Griswold mentioned his visit to New York City in his [page 400:] July 10, 1842, letter to James T. Fields. Poe visited New York at about -the same time (see the chronology for circa June 25).

JUNE 23: In The Index, p. 2, col. l, Jesse E. Dow again comments upon the change in the editorial staff of Graham's Magazine: “We would give more for Edgar A. Poe's toe nail, than we would for Rueful Grizzle's soul, unless we wanted a milk-strainer. Them's our sentiments.”

CIRCA JUNE 25: Poe leaves Philadelphia for a brief trip to New York City.

NOTE: Poe's June 30 letter to James Herron establishes that he returned from this “brief visit” on the night before. He also mentioned “a brief visit to New-York” in his July 6 letter to Daniel Bryan. In his July 7 letter to Mrs. Elizabeth R. Tutt, Poe stated that “About ten days ago” he was “obliged to go on to New York on business” and that Virginia “began to fret” when she did not hear from him “twice a day.” His July 18 letter to J. and H. G. Langley, publishers of the Democratic Review, is more revealing: “Will you be kind enough to put the best possible interpretation upon my behavior while in N-York? You must have conceived a queer idea of me — but the simple truth is that Wallace would insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying.” Poe's August 27 letter to Frederick William Thomas also mentions William Ross Wallace: “I wrote a few words to you, about two months since, from New York, at the importunate demand of W. Wallace, in which you were requested to use your influence,&c.” In September, 1842, when Thomas visited Philadelphia, Poe told his friend “that he had been to New York in search of employment and had also made effort [page 401:] to get out an edition of his tales, but was unsuccessful”; he admitted “yielding to temptation to drink while in New York” (see the chronology for September 17). During the year 1842 Poe is known to have prepared a title page and a table of contents for a new two-volume edition of his tales to be entitled Phantasy-Pieces (see Quinn, pp. 336-40). This proposed collection was to include the twenty-five stories found in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque as well as eleven stories he had written since these volumes were issued. It is not unlikely that during his trip Poe attempted to find a New York publisher for Phantasy-Pieces; his Philadelphia publishers Lea &Blanchard had previously declined the opportunity to issue a new edition of his tales (see the chronology for August 13, 16, 1841). During his trip Poe may well have sold “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” to Snowden's Ladies’ Companion, the New York monthly which was to publish his tale in three installments, in its November and December, 1842, and February, 1843, numbers. His October 3, 1842, letter to Robert Hamilton, the editor of the Companion, suggests that he may have been in the company of this New Yorker during his visit. Poe felt the need to assure Hamilton of his sobriety: “I am as straight as judges . ... and, what is more, I intend to keep straight.” Mary Starr, whom Poe courted in Baltimore in the early 1830's, remembered that he went “on a spree” in New York “in the spring of 1842”; her reminiscence, which may possibly refer to his visit to this city in late June, is quoted in the directory.

JUNE 27: Daniel Bryan writes Poe:

Alexandria D. C.

June 27. 1842 [page 402:]

My dear Sir

As your connexion with Graham's Mag. has ceased, you may feel some difficulty about the disposal of the verses which I some weeks ago enclosed to you. They were transmitted for that work under an impression, — and because I believed, — that you were still one of its editors. But now that you have withdrawn from it, I prefer having the verses returned to me, or retained by you, — if you deem them worthy of preservation, — for your future use.* [Footnote in margin follows:] I care nothing about their having gone before the present edts of that Jour. if my name did not accompany them, and they were not known to have emanated from me — I have a sprained wrist — which is my excuse for this scratching. [Text resumes:]

If, indeed, you have already disposed of them, — they must be permitted to “take their course.” —

I trust that we shall have the pleasure to see you before the public ere long in some new and commanding position. — That prosperity, distinction, and happiness, may attend you in all your career through life, is the prayer of

Your very respectful,

and obt servt

Danl Bryan

P S I saw some allusion in a newspaper recently to an attack upon you by a writer in one of the Philada journals. I have not seen any attack, &trust there is no ground for the allusion.

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The Alexandria postmaster's first letter to Poe is entered in the chronology for May 13. The newspaper he mentioned in his postscript was the Washington Independent; for additional information, see Poe's July 6 letter to him and his July 11 reply, and see the articles from The Independent entered in the chronology for May 31, June 10, 17, 1842.

JUNE 27: In reviewing Graham's Magazine for The Index, p. 2, col. 1, Jesse E. Dow finds that the magazine now [page 403:] exhibits a “great deficiency, in point of editorial ability,” although it “hitherto maintained a fair standing in the country. The July number ... is awfully defective . ... many of the tales are a mere re-hearsal of some of the garbish [sic] that floods the country. .... Of a verity, friend Grizzle, thou art un Bear able. We have neither leisure nor inclination to point out the numberless blemishes that strike the eye . ... .”

NOTE: Dow had scant regard for Poe's replacement, Rufus W. Griswold (see the chronology for May 5, June 2, 18, 23, 1842).

ANTE JUNE 29: James Herron, in Washington, writes Poe. In an effort to assist Poe in obtaining a position in the Philadelphia Custom House, Herron has called upon Robert Tyler. The President's son has assured Herron that Poe shall certainly receive the appointment, and requested that this information be conveyed to him. Herron encloses a check for twenty dollars to aid his friend in his financial difficulties.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Poe's June 30 reply and from his discussion of Herron's actions in his August 27 letter to Frederick William Thomas. Presumably, Herron acted in response to Poe's letter written in early June, which mentioned his financial difficulties and his hopes for a situation in the Custom House.

JUNE 29: In the night Poe returns to Philadelphia after “a brief visit to New-York” and finds James Herron's “kind letter from Washington.”

NOTE: This entry is provided by Poe's June 30 letter to Herron. [page 404:]

JUNE 30: Poe replies to James Herron, thanking him for the check for twenty dollars. This gift has given Poe “new life in every way”; it will help him to overcome his financial difficulties. Poe adds: “Without your prompt and unexpected interposition with Mr Tyler, it is by no means improbable that I should have failed in obtaining the appointment which has „ . . become so vitally necessary to me; but now I feel assured of success. ... . You have shown yourself a true friend.” Although Virginia's health has “slightly improved” and Poe's “spirits have risen” in consequence, he is “still very unwell” and will be forced to go to bed. He again congratulates Herron on his success: “Your own brilliant prospects must be realized; for it is not Fate which makes such men as yourself. You make your own Fate.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 204. Information on Herron's “success” may be found in the chronology for early June.

July, 1842

JULY: Graham's Magazine issues the first number of a new volume. The following notice appears on the outside back cover:


The circulation of this Magazine has increased over Seventeen Thousand during the last six months, and the publisher issues, of the July number, and will continue to issue, until the close of the present volume, OVER FIFTY THOUSAND COPIES! — a circulation never attained before by any European or American periodical — the best evidence that can be offered of merit. [page 405:]

NOTE: The back wrapper of the July number is preserved in a bound volume of Graham's Magazine held by the American Antiquarian Society. This circulation claim was also made in a lengthy prospectus for the new volume which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, June 25, p. 4, col. 8: “of the present we print an edition UNEQUALLED IN THE HISTORY OF PERIODICALS — More — than 50,000 Copies per Month!”

JULY: A notice in Graham's Magazine (Vol. 21, p. 60) informs the magazine's readers of the change in its editorial staff:

RUFUS WILMOT GRISWOLD, a gentleman of fine taste and well known literary abilities, has become associated with us as one of the editors of this Magazine. The extensive literary knowledge of Mr. G. renders him a most valuable coadjutor.

The connection of E. A. POE, Esq., with this work ceased with the May Number. Mr. P. bears with him our warmest wishes for success in whatever he may undertake.

JULY: Poe discusses The Poets and Poetry of America with Rufus W. Griswold. Poe states that he had considered reviewing the anthology “in full” for the Democratic Review, but that his design was “anticipated” by the magazine's editor, John L. O'sullivan. He knows “no other work in which a notice would be readily admissible.” Griswold replies: “You need not trouble yourself about the publication of the review, should you decide upon writing it; for I will attend to all that. I will get it in some reputable work, and look to it for the usual pay; in the meantime handing you whatever your charge would be.”

NOTE: This entry is based upon Poe's account in his September 12, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas; the interview between the two men is said to have occurred [page 406:] “About two months since.” Additional evidence to support his account is provided by Griswold's August 12 and September 7, 1842, letters to James T. Fields. Poe accepted Griswold's proposal; his review of The Poets and Poetry of America was finished by August 12, and it appeared in the November number of the Boston Miscellany. It was less favorable than Griswold wished, but certainly not as critical as Poe implied in his letter to Thomas. Poe had apparently seen the publishers of the Democratic Review on his recent trip to New York (see the chronology for circa June 25 and July 18, 1.842).

JULY [?]: Poe writes Robert Hamilton, editor of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion, who has purchased “The Mystery of Marie Roget” for possible publication in this magazine.

If Hamilton, upon reading the story, finds “anything not precisely suited” to the Ladies’ Companion, Poe will “gladly re-purchase it.” If Hamilton decides to publish it, Poe asks to be sent proofs.

NOTE: This letter is discussed in Poe's October 3, 1842, letter to Hamilton. “‘The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” was completed around June 4. Robert Hamilton appears to have seen Poe during his visit to New York, and he could have purchased the tale at -this time (see the chronology for circa June 25).

JULY 4: Jesse E. Dow resigns the editorship of The Index because of ill health.

NOTE: The Index, July 6, p. 2, col. 1, published Dow's valedictory, dated July 4; he had no further connection with the paper. [page 407:]

JULY 4: Frederick William Thomas delivers an address to the Metropolitan Lyceum of Washington.

NOTE: The Index, July 2, p. 2, col. 6, gave a favorable advance notice of Thomas’ lecture, which dealt with the “anniversary of our country's Independence.”

JULY 4: Thomas Dunn English addresses a large Tyler meeting in Philadelphia; his audience includes his friend Henry B. Hirst.

NOTE: The Spirit of the Times, July 6, p. 2, col. 2, discussed various gatherings held to celebrate Independence Day. John S. Du Solle's pen is evident in the paper's report of the Tyler rally:

In the afternoon, the friends of the administration, otherwise called the “Corporal's Guard,” met in McArann's Garden, in considerable numbers. About 350 persons dined at this place. Commissary Tyson officiated as the President of the day, and acquitted himself in the handsomest manner. Among the speakers we noticed Mr. Proffit, member of Congress, from Indiana. He made an excellent speech, and gave in conclusion a capital sentiment on the “veto.” Thomas Done Brown then appeared on the platform, and said with egregious vanity, that his forte lay in “Stump Speaking,” and he then began to speak about John Tyler's views of a “judicious tariff,” in a strain perfectly incomprehensible even to himself. Among the most conspicuous objects at this festival was the celebrated “Henry Bread Crust,” of the “golden locks,” who sat smoking a cigar while his friend Thomas Done Brown delivered himself of his nonsense.

JULY 6: Poe replies to Daniel Bryan's June 27 letter, which he found upon his “return from a brief visit to New York, a day or two since.” He has not received the “verses” enclosed in the letter Bryan claims to have sent him several weeks earlier. Poe's connection with Graham's Magazine “ceased with the May number, which was completed by the 1rst [page 408:] of April . ... .” He believes that “the present editors” may have opened letters addressed to him as editor of the magazine: “I know not how to escape from this conclusion; and now distinctly remember that, although in the habit of receiving many letters daily, before quitting the office, I have not received more than a half dozen during the whole period since elapsed; and none of those received were addressed to me as ‘Editor of G's Magazine’.” Although Poe has “no quarrel” with either George R. Graham or Rufus W. Griswold, he holds neither man “in especial respect”; and he does not wish to communicate with them. He suggests that Bryan write them to recover this manuscript. Poe is now “making earnest although secret exertions” to resume his project of the Penn Magazine; he has “every confidence” that he will be able to issue the first number on January 1, 1843. He explains his failure to begin the magazine in January, 1841:

I was induced to abandon the project at that period by the representations of Mr Graham. He said that if I would join him as a salaried editor, giving up, for the time, my own scheme, he himself would unite with me at the expiration of 6 months, or certainly at the end of a year. As Mr G. was a man of capital and I had no money, I thought it most prudent to fall in with his views. The result has proved his want of faith and my own folly. In fact, I was continually laboring against myself. Every exertion made by myself for the benefit of “Graham”, by rendering that Mag: a greater source of profit, rendered its owner, at the same time, less willing to keep his word with me. At the time of our bargain (a verbal one) he had 6000 subscribers — when I left him he had more than 40,000. It is no wonder that he has been tempted to leave me in the lurch.

This delay has not harmed the prospects of the Penn Magazine, because Poe's editorship of Graham's has rendered him “better . ... and more favorably known than before.” He had nearly one thousand subscribers with which to have started his [page 409:] magazine; from this “old list” there are possibly “3 or 4 hundred” who will still subscribe. Between this date and the first of January, Poe needs to obtain other subscribers: “You are aware that, in my circumstances, a single name, in advance, is worth ten after the issue of the book; for it is upon my list of subscribers that I must depend for the bargain to be made with a partner possessing capital, or with a publisher.” He will be grateful if Bryan can secure “even a single name” in Alexandria; he assures his correspondent that the Penn Magazine will “make war to the knife against the New-England assumption of ‘all the decency and all the talent’ which has been so disgustingly manifested in the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold's ‘Poets &Poetry of America’.” In a postscript Poe adds that he has not seen the “attack” Bryan mentions in his June 27 letter, and he asks whether it occurred in a Philadelphia paper.

NOTE: Letters, I, 204-07. Bryan's August 4 letter to Poe establishes that his May 13 letter, containing a poem for Graham's Magazine, passed into the hands of Griswold, who did not bother to forward it. Poe's statement that he decided not to issue the Penn Magazine because of Graham's “representations” is misleading; he was forced to abandon the project because of “the unexpected bank suspensions” (see the chronology for February 4 and post February 4, 1841). He also discussed Graham's promise to join him in the Penn Magazine in his July 6 letter to Thomas Holley Chivers; for additional information, see the chronology for ante June 21, September 19, and October 27, 1841. Poe stated his intention to resume his magazine project in the two July 6 letters; the forthcoming Penn Magazine was also announced by the New York Mirror on July 30, and by John S. Du Solle's Spirit of the Times on August 17, 1842. [page 410:]

JULY 6: Poe writes Thomas Holley Chivers in Middletown, Connecticut, apologizing for not replying to his last three letters: “A world of perplexing business has led me to postpone, from day to day, a duty which it is always a pleasure to perform.” In the first letter Chivers had spoken of the notice he received in the December, 1841, installment of “Autography.” Poe now wishes to modify this evaluation of Chivers’ merits: “The paper had scarcely gone to press before I saw and acknowledged to myself the injustice I had done;you — an injustice which it is my full purpose to repair at the first opportunity. What I said of your grammatical errors arose from some imperfect recollections of one or two poems sent to the first volume of the S. L. Messenger. But in more important respects I now deeply feel that I have wronged you by a hasty opinion. You will not suppose me insincere in saying that I look upon some of your late pieces as the finest I have ever read.” When Chivers wrote his most recent letter, dated June 11, he was unaware of his correspondent's resignation from Graham's Magazine. Poe asks: “What disposition shall I make of the ‘Invocation to Spring’? The other pieces are in the hands of my successor, Mr Griswold.” He now intends to resume the Penn Magazine project: “I had made every preparation for the issue of the first number in January[,] 1841, but relinquished the design at Mr Graham[’]s representation of joining me in July, provided I would edit his Mag: in the meantime. In July he put me off until January, and in January until July again. He now finally declines, and I am resolved to push forward for myself.” If the Penn Magazine is placed “fairly before the public,” Poe has “no doubt of ultimate success”; he asks Chivers whether he cannot enlist subscribers among his friends in Middletown. Poe adds: “As I have no money myself, it will be absolutely [page 411:] necessary that I procure a partner who has some pecuniary means. I mention this to you — for it is not impossible that you yourself may have both the will &the ability to join me. The first number will not appear until January, so that I shall have time to look about me.”

NOTE: Letters, II, 697-98. Poe's remarks on Chivers in “Autography” are reprinted in the Works, XV, 241-42. No poems by Chivers were published in the Southern Literary Messenger during Poe's editorship, but he did submit a number of poems to the first volume which Poe may have seen. In his Thomas Holley Chivers, Friend of Poe (1930; rpt. New York: Russell &Russell, 1973) p. 85, S. Foster Damon reprinted a brief message intended for Chivers, then resident in his native Georgia, from the March, 1835, number of the Messenger: “There is a great deal of feeling in many of the communications sent to the publisher by T. H. C., M.D.; but to our poor taste, there is not much poetry. We question whether the Doctor will not find the lancet and pill-box of more profit in that warm region to which he has emigrated, than the offerings of his prolific muse. The poetical manufacture depends more upon the quality than the quantity of its fabrics, for success.” Poe probably did not write this editorial notice, which was published before he joined the Messenger's staff; but he never regarded Chivers as a significant poet. In his July 6 and September 27, 1842, letters to Chivers, he seems to be principally concerned with persuading the Georgia poet, who was a well-to-do plantation owner, to provide financial backing for the Penn Magazine.

JULY 7: Poe writes Mrs. Elizabeth R. Tutt in Woodville, Rappahannock County, Virginia: “ . ... My dear little wife grew much better from the very first day after taking the [page 412:] Jew's Beer. It seemed to have the most instantaneous and miraculous effect. ... . About ten days ago, however, I was obliged to go on to New York on business . ... she began to fret . ... because she did not hear from me twice a day. ... . What it is to be pestered with a wife! . ... I have resigned the editorship of ‘Graham's Magazine’ . ... .”

NOTE: Letters, I, 209. The MS of this letter has not been located; the text given is a fragmentary quotation found in an auction catalog (see the Letters, II, 499). Mrs. Tutt was Poe's first cousin, the former Elizabeth Rebecca Herring of Baltimore.

JULY 10: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James T. Fields, a Boston publisher, discussing the success of The Poets and Poetry of America: “The second edition is nearly printed, and if your magnificent copy is not bound, wait for it.” Griswold mentions his recent visit to New York City: “I have been to New York for a few days, and save the evils of weak eyes, weak lungs, etc. enjoyed myself well enough — nay, decidedly well. I saw all the people-breakfasted with Willis, smoked with Halleck. ... . chatted with Hoffman . ... .” He discusses his position on Graham's Magazine:

You have seen, I doubt not, the new arrangements for this magazine.. I had little to do with the July No. as it was nearly all printed before I came hither; but the August is better, and the Sept. will be better still. Cooper, Bryant, Longfellow, all the while! besides Fields and Tuckerman! — of course, you will send me something in time for it. Speaking of Longfellow — the MS. of his Spanish Student I shall have bound in green and. gold — would you not like to have it? Such autographs are not to be picked up every day.

Griswold has favorably noticed an edition of Alfred [page 413:] Tennyson's poems being issued by his correspondent's firm, Ticknor and Fields: “Did you see what a puff I gave Tennyson in the Sat. Eve. Post? (2 numbers.) You must send a copy to that paper and one to me, which shall be duly acknowledged. I puff your books, you know, without any regard to their quality.”

NOTE: MS, Huntington Library. Griswold's trip to New York was reported by The Spirit of the Times on June 21 (see the chronology). He had joined the staff of Graham's Magazine shortly after. May 3; his present letter suggests that he took a more active role in editing the monthly than Poe had. The publication of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Spanish Student, a dramatic poem, was commenced in the September number of Graham's. Griswold's frank admission that he puffed the books issued by Ticknor and Fields “without any regard to their quality” indicates that he regarded book reviews as personal favors or advertisements rather than as impartial attempts at analysis and evaluation, and it does much to explain why he was disappointed with Poe's judicious criticism of The Poets and Poetry of America (see his August 12 and September 7, 1842, letters to Fields).

JULY 11: Daniel Bryan replies to Poe's July 6 letter:

Alexandria, D. C. July 11. 1842

My dear Sir

I am very much gratified to learn that you are determined to “resume your project of the Penn Magazine,” and I am highly pleased with the independent and elevated ground on which you are resolved that it shall be conducted. — We stand in need of a literary journal of the character which you propose to give to yours; a character based on principles uninfluenced by selfish monopolising cliques, and stamped with the [page 414:] impress of justice and truth, regardless of sectional partialities and the indiscriminate puffery and exclusiveness of a combination of self-constituted critics. — Pruderice, however, will require that you shall not rouse the hostility of this combination by intimations which may alarm their selfishness, and array their batteries against you before your arrangements are matured, and a substantial patronage obtained. — I am convinced that you occupy a very favourable position as an editor in the estimation of the public; and when you get your journal fully established, I believe that its independence and the spirit and genius which you will be able to infuse into its columns will insure it success.

If my humble efforts can be in any wise conducive to its interests they shall be at your service. — You shall have one name in Alexa among your patrons at all events, and I will try very hard to procure you some more. — When your prospectus is out, please send me a few copies of it. —

Your failure to receive my communication accompanied by the poems to which I alluded in my last, appears to me inexplicable, if you were in Philadelphia at the time it reached the P. O. there, — which, I think, was on the 15th day of May. My record shews that there were mailed here on the 14th of May four free letters for Philada[,] two of which were doubtless packages addressed to you. — not as editor, or to the care of any body — but simply to —”Edgar A Poe, Esq. Philada[.]” If, therefore, they were taken from the P. O. and opened by any other person, without your authority, the person opening them, was guilty of an act of baseness, for which he deserves to have his ears cut off, or a brand of infamy stamped on his front. — If by possibility they went out from the Phila P. O. with the letters of any other individual and were opened by him through mistake, A very improbable occurrence, — he would forthwith, on discovering his mistake, which the first sentence of my long letter to you wd have made palpable, if he were riot totally destitute of all honourable principle, have returned them to you with a proper explanation &apology.-

But I trust that there is no man in Philada wearing the semblance of a gentleman, so villainously base — as to be guilty of such a viloation [sic ] of principle and honour, as to open, and withhold from you, communications thus transmitted to you under the sanctity of a seal. — Hence I venture to indulge a hope that they may have been advertised in the Philada office during [page 415:] your absence — and that on inquiry you will find them among the advertised letters now on hand there; — or that they were taken to your boarding house and mislaid among your papers.-

I suggest, that, if you have not already done so, you make special inquiry on the subject at the Philada office, and in the event of no satisfactory developement [sic ] being made, that a reference be had to the record of mails reed there, to ascertain if the Alexa mail for that city of the 14th of May — wh[ich] called for 4 free letters — was regularly rec’d there&c. — I will expect to hear further from you on the subject soon; in the mean time I beg you to be assured of my high respect,

and friendly regards,

Danl Bryan

P.S. Seek at your Reading Rooms for a file of the Washington “Independent” — and in that paper of the 17th of June you will see in an article signed “Flash” — dated Philada June 11th the allusion to “attacks” upon your “literary character” — to which I referred. Flash alleges that they appeared recently in “Graham's Mag.” I have not seen them, &presume there is some mistake about the matter.

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library.

JULY 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, carries a report which would have greatly interested Poe: “RUMOR OF CHANGES. — It is whispered that there will be divers removals and appointments in the Custom House in this city, very shortly. We are surprised the thing has not been done ere this, especially as almost all the posts under government are held by persons who are its bitterest foes. The hour approaches, however, when the work of reform will be commenced! Stand from under!”

JULY 12: Thomas Holley Chivers, in New York City, replies to Poe's July 6 letter: “I am now on my way to the [page 416:] South, and had not time to answer your letter from Middletown, as I received it only a few moments before I started. My brother has written me a letter informing me that the division of my father's estate will take place on the first of August, and I must; hasten to my plantation to receive my portion.” Chivers thanks Poe for his “polite remarks” in regard to “Autography”: “I had always spoken so highly of your talents as a poet, and the best critic in this Country, that, when my friends saw it [Poe's notice of Chivers], believing you were what I represented you to be, they came almost to the conclusion that they were not only mistaken, but that I was a bad writer, and a fit subject for the Insane Hospital.” If the editor of Graham's Magazine likes Chivers’ poem “Invocation to Spring,” Poe has permission to give it to him. Soon Chivers will submit “a poem entitled ‘The Mighty Dead,’ with one or two Dramas,” for Poe's perusal. He promises to do all he can to obtain subscribers for the Penn Magazine: “I would take great delight in becoming the associate of a man whom I am proud to recognize as my friend, and whose superiour talents I can never cease to admire.”

NOTE: Works of Chivers.: The Correspondence, pp. 14-15. Chivers’ poem “The Mighty Dead” dealt with the death of President Harrison; for additional information, see the chronology for September 26 and 27, 1842.

JULY 16: The Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 3, carries a “PUBLISHER's CIRCULAR” from the office of Graham's Magazine. George R. Graham announces that James Fenimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Charles Fenno Hoffman, have been engaged as regular contributors to the magazine. In addition to these new authors, “the proprietor expects shortly to be able to [page 417:] announce an engagement with CHARLES DICKENS, that gentleman having, before leaving this country, pledged himself to write for ‘GRAHAM's MAGAZINE,’ if for any periodical in America.”

NOTE: Rufus W. Griswold was probably instrumental in enlisting these four American authors as regular contributors; Poe, his predecessor, had the opportunity to solicit Dickens’ contributions during his two interviews with him around March 7, 1842. The British novelist never contributed to Graham's.

JULY 18: Poe writes J. and H. G. Langley, publishers of the Democratic Review, enclosing an article entitled “The Landscape-Garden” for their consideration. He is “desperately pushed for money”; in the event that John L. O'sullivan, the Review's editor, likes the article, Poe would be grateful if the publishers would mail him “the amount due” quickly, in order that he will receive it in Philadelphia by July 21, on which day he “shall need it.” He sets no price for “The Landscape-Garden,” but trusts to the publishers’ liberality. If the article is not accepted for publication, he requests that they “return it as soon as possible, by mail, enveloped as now.” Poe apologizes for his conduct during his recent trip: “Will you be kind enough to put the best possible interpretation upon my behavior while in N-York? You must have conceived a queer idea of me — but the simple truth is that Wallace would insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying. The Review of Dawes which I offered you was deficient in a ½ page of commencement, which I had written to supersede the old beginning, and which gave the article the character of a general &retrospective review. No wonder you did not take it . ... . I hope to see you [page 418:] at some future time, under better auspices.”

NOTE: Letters, II, 698-99. The United States Magazine and Democratic Review commenced publication in Washington in 1837, but it was transferred to New York City in 1841. William Ross Wallace, a Kentucky poet resident in New York City since 1841, was ten years younger than Poe; he cannot be made to assume sole responsibility for his older companion's excessive drinking. The mint julep was then a popular summertime beverage in New York, Philadelphia, and other Northern cities. Poe's scathing “Retrospective Criticism” of “The Poetry of Rufus Dawes” appeared in the October, 1842, number of Graham's Magazine; his July 18 letter seems to indicate that he had earlier submitted this article to the Democratic Review, probably during his visit to New York, circa June 25, 1842.

POST JULY 19 [?]: “The Landscape-Garden” is returned by the Democratic Review. Poe sells the sketch to Snowden's Ladies’ Companion for five dollars.

NOTE: “The Landscape-Garden” appeared in the October number of the Ladies’ Companion. On October 3, 1842, Poe wrote Robert Hamilton, the magazine's editor, asking to be sent the five dollars due “by return mail.”

JULY 22: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, John S. Du Solle alludes to George G. Foster: “EUREKA! — Yes, we have found out why the New York Aurora is so piquant just now. Our Foster -brother is at the head of it. We conjure him to keap [sic ] cool until after the dog-days.”

NOTE: Foster, a sensational journalist, had previously been resident in Saint Louis (see the chronology for December 7, 1840, and May 26, 28, 1841). Poe's September 12, 1842, [page 419:] letter to Frederick William Thomas establishes that he was in communication with Foster during the summer of 1842.

JULY 26: Daniel Bryan writes Poe:


Alexandria D. C.

July 26. 1842

My dear Sir

Did you receive my reply to your letter in relation to the lost verses&c.?

I trust you did, and that your investigation of the mystery about the missing come has resulted in the dispersion of your apprehensions with regard to them. — I don’t care much about the loss of the M.S. as I have the rough originals, and am not sure, any how, that they merit preservation. — But the violation of your d sealed packages and the detention of their contents w. be a very different matter. I venture to hope, however, that I shall hear from you that the parties to whom suspicion pointed as being guilty of the presumed offence are innocent thereof. —

Did you find the No of the Independent in which the article to which I referred imputing to G's Mag. an attack upon you, appeared? — If you did not, I can send it to you. — I repeat my conviction that the writer of that article had some how or other fallen into a mistake on the subject, as on further scrutiny of the Mag. I have not been able to find any thing which I c. construe into animadversion of either yourself or your productions. —

How proceed your arrangements with a view to the establishment of the “Penn Magazine”? — If you had a well-skilled trust-worthy agent to travel about &procure subs. I think a liberal patronage might be obtained for it. — A reliance upon stationary agents for the procurement of subs. at the commencement of a literary work, no matter how distinguished the editor may be, is less judicious according to my observation, than a dependence upon the active exertions of travelling agents of proper qualifications. — The combined efforts of both classes in your case, could not[,] it appears to me[,] fail to success [succeed]. — But I am volunteering suggestions in a matter which you understand better, probably, than I do. — And, then, [page 420:] I am aware that there may be difficulty in the employment of suitable agents, and that the expenses connected with this mode of getting subs. may prove a formidable obstacle to its adoption. —

Ah Curse that cruel peace-destroying hag poverty! How she casts her withering blight upon the fairest hopes of the sons of Genius! —

“It's hardly in a body's power

To keep at times from being sour,

To see how things are shared;

How best o’ [illegible] are whiles in want,

While [illegible] on countless thousands rant

And ken n.a how to waist.”

But then, my dear Sir, I trust that we have some of the consolations which the high-souled bard pictured to his friend as an offset to the ills which poverty threw in their path. —

I see it represented in the Phila Evening Jour. that Griswold's “Poets &Poetry” has succeeded well-and that a new edition is issuing from the press. — Is there not some of the “trickery of trade” in this? — What was the amt of the 1st edition — and may not the 2nd ed. have been printed at the same time the 1st was? — By the bye have you read any of Griswold's own verses? — The only sample I have seen of them is mere doggerel in my humble estimation. I allude to “Sights from my window — Alice” — printed in the May or June No. of Graham. — I have at my disposal a MS critique on this production, wh[i.ch] I wd be pleased to see printed in some respectable newspaper, or periodical, published in one [of] the large cities. — Would it comport with your views &feelings to take charge of it, and, if you deemed it just and worthy of publication, have it transferred to the columns of some journal over which you have influence? Just favor me with an answer to this inquiry. — If it shd be in the affirmative, the critique shall be at your disposal as soon as the mail can convey it to you[.]

My agency, as well as your own, in the matter wd of course be kept entirely to ourselves — unless you might be willing to confide your part in it to the editor, or publisher, of the Jour. to wh[ich] you might send it.-

You may place the most implicit reliance in the inviolability of any confidence which you may repose in me, — and I feel assured that my secrets will be safe in your keeping. — Pardon the hurry in wh[ich] I write. With the highest respect very faithfully [page 421:]

yr obt servt Dan Bryan

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The letter bears no postmark or other postal stamp. Bryan had not yet received a reply to his July 11 letter, and he knew that Poe had not received his May 13 letter. Probably the Alexandria postmaster arranged for this “Confidential “ letter to be carried to Philadelphia by some private means, in order to ensure its delivery to his correspondent.

JULY 27 — AUGUST 3: Poe replies to Daniel Bryan's letters of July 11 and 26. He has finally received Bryan's May 13 letter. Someone associated with Graham's Magazine obtained the letter from the post office and opened it. Bryan's letter then passed into the possession of Rufus W. Griswold, who apparently read it, but did not bother to forward it to Poe. The “second leaf” of the May 13 letter is torn, and Poe asks Bryan whether the letter was sent in this condition. Poe suggests that Bryan contact either Frederick William Thomas or Jesse E. Dow: either man may be able to help him find a publisher for his critique of Griswold's poem “Sights from My Window — Alice.”

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Bryan's August 4 reply. Charles J. Peterson may have been the person who opened Bryan's May 13 letter. The MS of this letter is slightly torn; it was probably mailed in this condition, as Bryan suggests in his August 4 letter; his text has not been altered.

JULY 29: In reviewing the August number of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion for The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle comments upon a contribution by Henry B. [page 422:] Hirst: “‘Leone’ by the poet Henry Bread Crust, Esq., resembles molasses and water.”

JULY 30: The New York Mirror (Vol. 20, p. 247) reports that “Edgar A. Poe, whose capabilities as an analytical critic are so generally acknowledged, is about to have a new field for their display in his proposed ‘Penn Magazine.’”

JULY 30: In reviewing the August number of Graham's Magazine for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, col. 4, Joseph Evans Snodgrass finds “A decided change in the tone of book notices. They are more laudatory than when Mr. Poe presided over the critical department.”

August, 1842

AUGUST: In the Democratic Review (Vol. 11, pp. 175-79), John L. O'sullivan publishes a lengthy critique of Rufus W. Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America:

MR. GRISWOLD has “done the state some service” in the preparation of this elegant volume; and there is probably no other man who could have done the same. In no other repository, we believe, than on his shelves, is to be found so complete a collection of all the printed records of American verse, from its earliest quaint rhymings to its latest strains whose echoes may be yet lingering on the ear. In no other repository than in the faithful memory where an enthusiastic industry has stored it, is to be found such a fund of knowledge, at once extensive and minute, respecting its authors, great and small, their histories, works, and personal and poetical characters.

O'sullivan finds that several poets “among the more ‘common sort,’ of the Appendix,” should have been placed in the body of the anthology, but his principal objection to [page 423:] the volume is that it is too inclusive. He lists all the poets whose verses are excerpted, and he concludes: “There is one omission, by the way, in Mr. Griswold's work, which we are sure our readers, after exhausting their breath in the rehearsal of all this long array, will agree with us in censuring. It is on the title-page, and on the back of the cover. The alliteration of the name of the volume ought to have been carried out one step farther, and it should have run ‘The Poets, Poetry, and Poetasters of America.’”

NOTE: Poe attributed this review to O'sullivan in his September 12, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas.

AUGUST: In The Magnolia (New Series, Vol. 1, pp. 117-22), William Gilmore Simms reviews Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America at length. The Charleston editor praises the anthology as the best collection of American poetry yet issued, but complains that the compiler has neglected the Southern poets: “With all due respect for Mr. Griswold, as a good writer and an honest man, we are compelled to declare that he has neither done justice to the South, nor performed his duty to the American public. ... . Setting; out to present to the world a collection of American Poetry, he should have sought for specimens in every quarter of the Union. — He should have sought information in all the States, and in every chief city in each. He has evidently done so in all the New-England States.” Simms explains: “The merest verse-mongers in New-England — persons who have written a trifle for the newspapers, which they have never looked after — have been hunted up and carefully set down as poets, as much to their own surprise, we doubt not, as that of any of their readers.” [page 424:]

NOTE: The Magnolia, a monthly, commenced publication in Savannah, Georgia, in 1841; but it was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina, in July, 1842, where it was edited by Simms. The charge of regional prejudice was frequently brought against The Poets and Poetry of America. Poe criticized Griswold's emphasis on New England poets in a July 6 letter to Daniel Bryan and in his review of the anthology which appeared in the Boston Miscellany for November. In the January 28, 1843, issue of the Saturday Museum, Henry B. Hirst savagely criticized Griswold for overlooking the Philadelphia poets (see the chronology).

AUGUST 4: Daniel Bryan replies to a letter from Poe:

Alexandria D. C. Aug. 4. 1842

My dear Sir

I feel equally surprised and indignant at the conduct of the wretch by whom the sanctity of my letter to you was invaded: and, while I desire to exercise charity in relation to Mr Griswold in this matter, I cannot abstain from the indulgence of a suspicion that there has been at least a culpable disregard by him of our rights and of honourable principle in his connivance at the perpetration

of this act of baseness; or in his failure to communicate to you the fact of the existence of such a letter, with an explanation of the circumstances connected with the invasion of its seal and the removal of its enclosures. —

Although, from his own shewing, he knew the letter was there, and that it had contained M.S. verses; yet, if he is capable of becoming an accessary to the conduct of the principal in this matter, he would make up a plausible tale to exonerate himself from all blame in relation to it, and it would probably be impossible to obtain proof of the fallacy of his story. — He may not have been much to blame in the affair — but my present impressions implicate him in its guilt as, at least, an “accessary after the fact.” — We have been grossly injured by this violation of our correspondence &the crime deserves a signal punishment; but it may be [page 425:] prudent for us to let it pass without exposure. — You have been more egregiously wronged than myself, — and I pretend not to dictate the course for you to pursue concerning your, grievance. On this point you are the best judge. — If, however, I may be permitted to advise you on the subject, I wd recommend that you make discretion and your interests your counsellors in the case, and that you be guided by their dictates. —

There were some things in my letter which, uttered as they were in the confidence of friendship, I regret should have been exposed to Griswold's eye; — but as far as I am concerned, I feel no delicacy now about a divulgement of the whole transaction; — yet, looking to your interests, especially in connexion with your anticipated literary movements, it appears to me probable, that, unless prompted to make developements [sic ] by circumstances of which I am not aware, a silent acquiescence in the wrong, at least for the present, may be judicious. —

As respects the mutilation of the “second leaf” of my letter, I am not sure that it did not take place in consequence of some accident before it left my own hands. — Is there any break in the continuity of the sense where the severance occurs? If there is, the mutilation did not happen with me — and the guilt of the violater of the letter is deepened by the dismemberment of my comn —

Enclosed I send you a letter for Mr Graham which you can either hand to him, or forward through the P. O. — There were transmitted with my letter of the 13th of May three sets of verses — The May Queen's address — The coronation address by 1st Maid of Honour — and an address by 1st Goddess. — The letter covered one of the poems, &the other two were contained in a separate franked, &sealed envelope.

I send herewith 3 Nos of the Independent — in each of which you will find some allusion to Mr Griswold's book.

I have no means of ascertaining the authors of the articles in question. I shall be happy to hear from you when you find it convenient to favour me with a letter.

With high respect

I am very faithfully yr friend Danl Bryan

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The body of Bryan's letter is given in its entirety; he also included a [page 426:] partially illegible postscript, in which he briefly discussed several articles in the Washington Independent and his plan to publish an unfavorable criticism of Griswold's “Sights from My Window — Alice.” The postscript alludes to advice almost certainly contained in a Poe letter written in response to Bryan's July 26 letter: “I will take into consideration yr suggestion with regard to the publication of the critique through Mr Dow or Mr Thomas. Not having any personal or epistolary acquaintance with either of them, I feel some hesitation about the introduction of the subject to them.”

AUGUST 6: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James Fenimore Cooper, explaining why one of his contributions to Graham's Magazine will not appear in the next number: “The edition of our magazine is so large that we have to complete each number from four to five weeks before the first day of the month for which it is issued. This will account for the non-appearance of your article in September. We have to give one more ‘fashion plate’ also . ... . Among the contributors to the October number, beside yourself, are Bryant, Longfellow,

Hoffman . ... .” Griswold has recently seen William Cullen Bryant, who told him that Cooper was not on good terms with Washington Irving: “But ‘Cooper and Irving’ have been from my boyhood associated in my mind as the fathers of elegant literature in America — uniform setts [sic ] of their writings have occupied the conspicuous shelves in my book case — and I was grieved to see that my two friends, from whose society, in sickness and health, I had ever derived so much pleasure, were not friends to each other.”

NOTE: MS, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, [page 427:] Yale University.

AUGUST 12 OR BEFORE: Poe hands his completed review of The Poets and Poetry of America to Rufus W. Griswold and receives from him the promised “compensation”; the new editor of Graham's Magazine does not “look over the M.S.” in Poe's presence, but assumes “that all was right.

NOTE: This entry is based upon Poe's September 12 letter to Frederick William. Thomas; the dating is established by Griswold's August 12 letter to James T. Fields.

AUGUST 12: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James T. Fields in Boston:

I have sent to-day the article by Poe, about my book, to Bradbury &Soden for their magazine, with a request that if it be not acceptable, they will return it to you. I thought likely the name of Poe — gratuitously furnished — might be of some consequence, though I care not a fig about the publication of the criticism, as the author and myself not being on the best terms, it is not decidedly as favorable as it might have been. Will you see to it, though.

Griswold discusses the forthcoming numbers of Graham's Magazine: “You made a mistake in thinking your poem could be in the September issue — which, my dear fellow, was printed before you thought of writing to me. ... . The Sept No, by the way, is not very good . ... for [I] was out of town or sick all the month. I shall do better for October.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Bradbury &Soden were the publishers of the Boston Miscellany, whose November number contained Poe's review of The Poets and Poetry of America. The present letter and Griswold's [page 428:] September 7 letter to Fields corroborate Poe's account in his September 12 letter to Frederick William Thomas, in which he stated that the anthologist had offered to pay him for writing a review and had promised to insert it in “some reputable work.”

AUGUST 17: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, Col. 3, John S. Du Solle reports Poe's forthcoming journal: “PENN MAGAZINE. — We understand that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., has made all his arrangements and will positively bring out the first number of the ‘Penn Magazine’ on 1st January. It will assume a high tone, and take a bold stand among our literary periodicals. God knows! something of the kind is needed.”

NOTE: The Spirit, August 19, p. 2, col. 2, carried a second notice of this enterprise: “NOT SO. — The Eastern and Southern papers all state Edgar A. Poe is about to start a Penny Magazine. It is the ‘Penn’ Magazine, gentlemen — $5 per annum.”

AUGUST 18: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports a rumor which would have interested Poe: “THE CUSTOM HOUSE. — It is re-rumored that Thomas S. Smith is to get the Collectorship. We hope not.”

NOTE: John S. Du Solle, a Democrat, naturally opposed the appointment of Smith, a Whig allied with the Tyler administration, who was expected to make the changes in the subordinate offices of the Custom House desired by the President.

AUGUST 27: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas, complaining that his friend has not corresponded for four months: “I wrote a few words to you, about two months since, [page 429:] from New York, at the importunate demand of W. Wallace, in which you were requested to use your influence,&c. He overlooked me while I wrote, &therefore I could not speak of private matters. I presume you gave the point as much consideration as it demanded, &no more.” Poe is anxious to learn of Thomas’ activities in Washington: “Since I heard from you I have had a reiteration of the promise, about the Custom-House appointment, from Rob Tyler. A friend of mine, Mr. Jas. Herron, having heard from me casually, that I had some hope of an appointment, called upon R. T., who assured him that I should certainly have it &desired him so to inform me. I have, also, paid my respects to Gen. J. W. Tyson, the leader of the T. party in the city, who seems especially well disposed — but, notwithstanding all this, I have my doubts. A few days will end them. If I do not get the office, I am just where I started. Nothing more can be done to secure it than has been already done.” Poe discusses the state of American letters: “Literature is at a sad discount. There is really nothing to be done in this way. Without an international copyright law, American authors may as well cut their throats. A good magazine, of the true stamp, would do wonders in the way of a general revivification of letters, or the law. We must have — both if possible.” Poe asks for news of Jesse E. Dow. He adds: “My poor little wife still continues ill. I have scarcely a faint hope of her recovery.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 209-10. Information on Poe's trip to New York City is entered in the chronology for circa June 25. In his May 21 letter Thomas had assured Poe that he could be appointed to a position in the Philadelphia Custom House. In June James Herron sent him a second assurance of appointment from Robert Tyler, the President's [page 430:] oldest son (see the chronology for ante June 29, June 29, 30). Joseph Washington Tyson, a Philadelphia lawyer, was the foremost leader of the “Corporal's Guard,” as the President's supporters in Philadelphia were called. He was accorded the title of “General” because he had briefly served as the Commissary General of the United States Army (see the chronology for May 8, 1842). McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1842 locates Tyson's office at 85 South Third Street and his residence at 494 Chestnut Street.

AUGUST 30: Joseph Evans Snodgrass is one of the speakers at a temperance meeting in Baltimore. The assembly toasts him as “The able, fearless and indefatigable public advocate of the glorious cause of Temperance in Baltimore.”

NOTE: This event was reported at length by the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, September 3, p. 2, col. 6. The Visiter became a temperance organ early in Snodgrass’ editorship; on October 21, 1843, his paper also revealed an abolitionist bias.

September, 1842

SEPTEMBER: Graham's Magazine publishes the first installment of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Spanish Student.

NOTE: The second and third installments appeared in the October and November numbers. This dramatic poem was published in book form in 1843. Poe found The Spanish Student to be “a poor composition, with some fine poetical passages”; he prepared an unfavorable review of the book for [page 431:] the December, 1843, number of Graham's Magazine. Although George R. Graham purchased this unflattering notice of one of his prized contributors, he never permitted its publication. For additional information, see the chronology for October 19, December 26, 1843, and February 9, 1844.

SEPTEMBER 2: Frederick William Thomas writes Poe. Apparently, he describes his continuing efforts to secure a position for his friend in the Philadelphia Custom House. Mr. Beard will visit Philadelphia in the next few days, and he hopes to make Poe's acquaintance. Thomas wishes to publish one of his poems in book form, and he asks Poe for his advice on this matter.

NOTE: Thomas’ letter was presumably a reply to Poe's August 27 letter; its contents are surmised from Poe's September 12 reply. Mr. Beard may have been a friend of Thomas. The poem Thomas wished to publish was probably “The Beechen Tree”; Poe mentioned its publication in his letters of September 8, 1844, and January 4, 1845 (see the Letters, I, 274-75; II, 708-09).

SEPTEMBER 3: In reviewing Snowden's Ladies’ Companion for September, the Saturday Evening Post, p. 3, col. 4, discusses two-frequent contributors to this magazine: “We see that Henry B. Hirst and Dr. English figure in the work as usual. If friendship is the basis of merit in regard to the effusions of these gentlemen, we have nothing to say but has Mr. Snowden ever seen and talked with either?”

SEPTEMBER 7: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle describes Thomas Dunn English's reaction to Jesse E. Dow's vitriolic critique of his poem “Tecumseh's Last Battle”: [page 432:]

T. D. English, a scurvy fellow, who sometimes disgraces a Magazine, by inducing those who do not know him, to insert his contributions, had one of his articles severely handled by the Washington Index. Imagining that the Index was edited by Jesse E. Dow (it used to be, but is not now)[,] he said shortly after to a companion —”You saw that attack upon me in the Index, by Dow. It is very scurrilous; but worthy of little notice. At all events I am not inclined to turn drummer, and beat a rowdy Dow!”

We wonder where Mr. English buries his dead.

NOTE: Dow's editorship of The Index ended on July 4, 1842. His review of English's poem appeared in the November 27, 1841, issue (see the chronology).

SEPTEMBER 7: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, replies to a recent letter from James T. Fields: “Perhaps Poe's article will not affect the book at all, but I am rather pleased that it is to appear, lest Poe should think I had prevented its publication.” The next two numbers of Graham's Magazine will contain contributions by several prominent authors: “Our October number is good — very-with Bryant, Cooper, Longfellow, Hoffman, etc. That Peterson imposed on me a Clam Bake — the most wretched stuff. ... . In November we have Longfellow, Cooper, Bryant, R. H. Dana, Sr., Tuckerman, Hoffman . ... etc.”

NOTE: Passages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. Griswold, pp. 120-21. The “article” by Poe was a review of The Poets and Poetry of America which Griswold had commissioned; it was to appear in the November number of the Boston Miscellany. “That Peterson” was Charles J. Peterson, who had previously borne much of the responsibility for determining the contents of Graham's Magazine; his tale “The Clam Bake” appeared in the October number. Griswold's remarks suggest that he, not Peterson, now selected the articles to be published in Graham's, and they indicate that he had scant [page 433:] regard for this Philadelphian's literary productions. There may have been some friction between these two associates of George R. Graham, but the anecdote this publisher related to William F. Gill in 1873 is a fabrication. According to Gill, Life of Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 111-12, Graham claimed that he dismissed Griswold from the editorship of his magazine because he discovered that this subordinate had anonymously published “a most scurrilous attack” on Peterson in the New York Review. Graham's intent to deceive is apparent: the New York Review, a staid theological quarterly, was not given to “scurrilous” attacks; and it had expired in April, 1842, before Griswold joined the staff of Graham's.

SEPTEMBER 9: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports that Jesse E. Dow “has been enacting the part of a ‘borer’ at Washington, and has successfully bored through both Houses the bill regulating the pay of pursers and forward officers in the Navy.”

NOTE: Dow may have been active as a Congressional lobbyist; he was later to serve as “door keeper to the House of Representatives” (see Frederick William Thomas’ October 10, 1844, letter to Poe, printed in part by Phillips, Poe, II, 905-06).

SEPTEMBER 9: Thomas Dunn English addresses a meeting of Tyler supporters in Independence Square.

NOTE: John S. Du Solle published a biased account of his adversary's address in The Spirit of the Times, September 10, p. 2, col. 2: “T. D. English then thrust himself forward, made a silly speech, and amid cries of ‘mackerel! — mackerel! — stinking fish,&c.,’ sat down; when the meeting adjourned [page 434:] with 13 cheers for the ‘President,’ and 3 for Preserved Fish.”

SEPTEMBER, 10: Epes Sargent, in New York City, writes Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia, promising to send him a story for Graham's Magazine within the next week or two: “I shall charge you for it $25 — and if the terms are acceptable, your silence shall be considered an answer.” In a postscript Sargent asks:

By the way, have you heard anything of the persevering efforts of a Mrs. Stephens (a writer, I believe) to eject you from your present position with Graham? Giovanni Thompson was telling me something about it the other day. I am told she means to move heaven and earth to compass her amiable object. Of course Graham must laugh at her machinations. Thompson tells one she visited Philadelphia purposely to see Graham in relation to yourself. Can it be really a woman?

NOTE: MS, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, a popular writer then living in New York City, was announced as an editor of Graham's Magazine in its December, 1841, number (Vol. 19, p. 308); but she never took an active role in editing this monthly. Additional evidence of her animosity toward Griswold may be found in the chronology for January 5 and April 27, 1843.

SEPTEMBER 10: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports: “It seems that there is a little backwater somewhere in relation to the Collectorship of this Port. T. S. Smith has not gotten his commission yet, or had not yesterday morning, and per consequence the expectants of office under him (and so far, we perceive by the list, he has had only 1124 applicants for about 30 berths,) are in a state of most inextricable confusion.” [page 435:]

SEPTEMBER 10: Walter Forward, the Secretary of the Treasury, writes Jonathan Roberts, Collector of the Port of Philadelphia: “I am directed by the President to inform you that he has appointed Thomas S. Smith to be Collector of the Customs for the District of Philadelphia, in your place.”

NOTE: Roberts published Forward's letter in the United States Gazette, September 14, p. 2, col. 5. He commented: “On the morning of the 12th of September, Mr. Thomas S. Smith called upon me at the Custom House and informed me that I was superseded and that the President had appointed him in my place. ... . Though dated the 10th . ... [Forward's letter] was not mailed until the 12th, and did. not reach me until twenty-four hours after Mr. Smith had in person informed me, that I had been removed from office.”

ANTE SEPTEMBER 12: The Poe family moves to a row house located on Coates Street in the Fairmount district of Philadelphia.

NOTE: The earliest evidence of Poe's move to Fairmount is provided by his September 12 letter to Frederick William Thomas. McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1843 lists both “Clemm Mary, widow, Coates n[ear] FM [Fairmount]” and “Poe E. A., editor, Coates n FM” (see pp. 49, 222). The house was not numbered in 1843; possibly half a century later, it was identified as 2502 Fairmount Avenue by John S. Detwiler, the son of one of Poe's neighbors (see the directory). The building was destroyed during the construction of the Franklin Parkway; it was located near the junction of Fairmount Avenue and Twenty-Fifth Street, in the vicinity of the present Philadelphia Art Museum. A photograph may be found in Phillips’ Poe, I, 747-49; a [page 436:] description of this residence is entered in the chronology for September 1’7, 1842.

SEPTEMBER 12: Poe replies to Frederick William Thomas’ September 2 letter. He has not seen Mr. Beard, who may have had difficulty in locating his residence: “since you were here I have moved out in the neighborhood of Fairmount.” Poe thanks Thomas for his “kind offices in the matter of the appointment” to the Philadelphia Custom House: “So far, nothing has been done here in the way of reform. Thos. S. Smith is to have the Collectorship, but it appears has not yet received his commission — a fact which occasions much surprise among the quid-nuncs.” In the event Poe receives the appointment, he is still “undetermined what literary course to pursue.” George R. Graham has made him “a good offer to return.” The proprietor of Graham's Magazine is not “especially pleased with Griswold — nor is any one else, with the exception of the Rev. gentleman himself, who has gotten himself into quite a hornet's nest, by his ‘Poets &Poetry’.” Poe believes that Thomas gave Griswold “personal offence by delay in replying to his demand for information touching Mrs Welby . ... or somebody else.” The anthologist consequently omitted Thomas from the body of The Poets and Poetry of America and relegated him to the appendix reserved for lesser figures. Poe explains: “he [Griswold had prepared quite a long article from my MS. and had selected several pages for quotation.” Two months previously, Poe was discussing the anthology with Griswold; he said that he “had thought of reviewing it in full” for the Democratic Review, but found his design anticipated by the magazine's editor, “that ass O'sullivan.” Although Poe knew of “no other work in which a notice would be readily admissible,” Griswold promised to insert the review in a reputable [page 437:] periodical and to pay him his usual fee for writing it: “This, you see, was an ingenious insinuation of a bribe to puff his book. I accepted his offer forthwith, wrote the review, handed it; to him and received from him the compensation: — he never daring to look over the M.S. in my presence, and taking it for granted that all was right. But that review has not yet appeared, and I am doubtful if it ever will. I wrote it precisely as I would have written under ordinary circumstances; and be sure there was no predominance of praise.” If Poe does not receive an appointment to the Custom House, he may establish a magazine in New York with George G. Foster, the editor of the New York Aurora, who has made him “an offer.” Because of the inadequate copyright laws, no publisher would want to issue Thomas’ poem; but Poe advises his friend to have it printed at his own expense: “It would make only a small volume, &the cost of publishing it . ... could not be much, absolutely.” Poe adds that “Virginia's health has slightly improved” and that his own spirits are proportionately good.

NOTE: Letters, I, 210-13. Both Poe and Thomas had furnished material for The Poets and Poetry of America. Thomas agreed to furnish Griswold with sketches of Mrs. Amelia Welby, the Kentucky poetess, and Edward Coote Pinkney (see his June 8 and July 28, 1841, letters to Griswold); and Poe prepared a sketch of Thomas, whom Griswold originally intended to include in the body of his anthology (see Poe's September 1, 1841, letter to Thomas). Poe's review of the anthology, which appeared in the Boston Miscellany for November, was judicious and generally favorable, but not as laudatory as Griswold had hoped when he commissioned it. For additional information on the review and Griswold's reaction to it, see the chronology for July, July 10, August 12, September 7, [page 438:] October 21, and November, 1842. In his “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 303-04, Gravely correctly observed that in the present letter “Poe overemphasized the harshness of his review to Thomas . ... for the purpose of assuring his friend that he disapproved of Griswold's having omitted him from the body of his book.” John L. O'sullivan's review of Griswold's anthology is excerpted in the chronology for August. George G. Foster's editorship of the New York Aurora was reported by The Spirit of the Times on July 22; conceivably, Poe may have seen this journalist during his trip to New York City circa June 25.

SEPTEMBER 12: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, reports: “GOT IT AT LAST. — It was asserted last evening that Thomas S. Smith had positively received his commission as Collector of the Port of Philadelphia.”

SEPTEMBER 13: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, confirms yesterday's report of Thomas S. Smith's appointment. In another article The Spirit, p. 2, col. 3, describes the reaction to this news:

So Mr. Smith is Collector of the Port at last. That “Committee” which returned from Washington on Saturday night, did the business for him. The applications for office under him yesterday were innumerable. They resembled the “rushing of many waters.” Some of the present incumbents, we learn, went on their knees to Mr. Smith, and begged him to retain them in office, as they could render a peculiar service to the party in October. One fellow, we are told, absolutely transmitted 36 pages of blank verse to him to prove that he was “intellectually” qualified for his station; while another forwarded him the exact measure of his legs, to satisfy him that he was fitted to the post of messenger. Funny times, these. [page 439:]

SEPTEMBER 15: The United States Gazette, p. 2, col. 2, reports:

THE NEW COLLECTOR — Thos. S. Smith, Esq., the recently appointed Collector, took possession of his office on Monday last, and on the same day removed eleven of the Measurers and Inspectors. — Those turned out were, or were supposed to be, Clay Whigs. Of those appointed, it is said eight are Whigs, two antimasons and one reported a democrat — the latter has but one leg, and has no doubt been appointed, not for his politics, but from other motives. It seems that the only change that is contemplated, by the recent change of the head of the Custom House,

is from one class of Whigs to another. Mr. Smith is himself a Whig — the Whig President of the Whig city Common Council. He was, some ten years ago a democrat, but . ... since then, has acted with the Whig party in all its doings. ... .

NOTE: On its masthead the Gazette announced its support for Henry Clay, the influential Whig senator from Kentucky, in the Presidential election of 1844. The men Smith removed from office were Clay supporters; he replaced them with members of the “Corporal's Guard,” a political faction composed largely of men who had formerly been Whigs, but now supported President Tyler, who hoped to win re-election as the leader of a third party. Smith's appointment to the Collectorship was subject to approval by the United States Senate, which had rejected many of President Tyler's nominations to federal office for partisan reasons. In his “Thomas Dunn English,” p. 327, Gravely suggested that Smith was “convinced that his confirmation would depend upon the approval of the ‘9hig majority in the Senate,” and that he consequently appointed “men of Whig background even though of course they were Whigs who had not deserted the cause of John Tyler.”

SEPTEMBER 15: The United States Gazette, p. 2, col. 3, [page 440:] reports a political appointment: “Thomas Dunn English, of Philadelphia, to be a Commissioner of Bankruptcy, in the State of Pennsylvania, for the Western District of Florida.”

NOTE: Poe's enemy Thomas Dunn English and his father Robert were both appointed to office, presumably as a reward for their active support of President Tyler; for additional information, see the chronology for October 18 and November 17, 1842 .

SEPTEMBER 15: Thomas Holley Chivers, in New York City, writes Poe, sending the names of four subscribers to the Penn Magazine. Apparently, he asks his correspondent whether any Philadelphia publisher would be willing to issue his poem on the death of President Harrison, “The Mighty Dead.” Chivers requests that Poe return the “Invocation to Spring” and other poems which he forwarded in his June 11, 1842, letter.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Poe's September 27 reply and his July 6 letter, and from Chivers’ letters of July 12 and September 26, 1842.

ANTE SEPTEMBER 17: Frederick William Thomas arrives in Philadelphia for a short visit.

NOTE: Possibly Thomas came to the city to seek a publisher for his poem, which is mentioned in Poe's September 12 letter. In any case, his reasons for making this trip almost certainly included a desire to see Poe and to discuss with him the chances of his obtaining a situation in the Philadelphia Custom House, now that the new Collector was installed and changes in the subordinate offices were imminent. Thomas’ visit would have been of short duration; in his letters to Poe, he often complained of his inability [page 441:] to get leave of absence from his position in Washington. Probably he arrived in Philadelphia in the evening of Friday, September 16; he was in Poe's company on Saturday, September 17; and he left for Washington in the evening of Sunday, September 18. There are three reliable documents which can be used to establish some of the facts of Thomas’ visit: a report in The Spirit of the Times on September 19, Poe's September 21 letter to him, and his own account in his “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe.”

SEPTEMBER 17 (SATURDAY): Frederick William Thomas visits Poe at his new residence on Coates Street in the Fairmount district. The two men then visit the city together. In all probability, Poe discusses his plans to issue the Penn Magazine in January, 1843. Thomas apparently believes that the Tyler administration may be willing to provide “the most effectual patronage” for the magazine if it occasionally publishes an article in support of the President's policies. He is, moreover, confident that within a month or two his friend will receive an appointment which will provide him with a good salary but still allow him much time for literary pursuits. When the two men leave each other “on the wharf in Philadelphia,” Thomas “hurriedly” assures Poe that Robert Tyler really wishes to give him a position in the Custom House. They decide to meet at the Congress Hall Hotel, Chestnut and Third Streets, at 9:00 AM the next morning.

NOTE: The conclusion that Thomas brought encouraging news from Washington seems to be warranted by the optimistic tone of Poe's September 27 letter to Thomas Holley Chivers, in which he stated that he, expected to receive a position in the Custom House before “the middle of October” and that he had been “assured “ of government patronage which would [page 442:] “sustain the Magazine.,” In his September 8, 1844, letter to Thomas, Poe alluded to their discussion when they “last met on the wharf in Philadelphia” (see the Letters, II, 708). In his “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe,” quoted by Whitty, Poems, pp. xli.ii-xliv, Thomas did not feel a need to discuss Poe's chief’ concerns in September, 1842, possibly because both the Penn Magazine and the Custom House appointment were to prove abortive ventures; but his account is otherwise revealing:

I met Poe in Philadelphia during September, 1842. He lived in a rural home on the outskirts of the city. His house was small, but comfortable inside for one of the kind. The rooms looked neat and orderly, but everything about the place wore an air of pecuniary want. Although I arrived late in the morning Mrs. Clemm, Poe's mother-in-law, was busy preparing for his breakfast. My presence possibly caused some confusion, but I noticed that there was delay and evident difficulty in procuring the meal. His wife entertained me. Her manners were agreeable and graceful. She had well formed, regular features, with the most expressive and intelligent eyes I ever beheld. Her pale complexion, the deep lines in her face and a consumptive cough made me regard her as the victim for an early grave. She and her mother showed much concern about Eddie, as they called Poe, and were anxious to have him secure work. I afterwards learned from Poe that he had been to New York in search of employment and had also made effort to get out an edition of his tales, but was unsuccessful.

When Poe appeared his dark hair hung carelessly over his high forehead, and his dress was a little slovenly. He met me cordially, but was reserved, and complained of fee-Ling unwell. His pathetic tenderness and loving manners towards his wife greatly impressed me. I was not long in observing with deep regret that he had fallen again into habits of intemperance. I ventured to remonstrate with him. He admitted yielding to temptation to drink while in New York and turned the subject off by telling an amusing dialogue of Lucian, the Greek writer. We visited the city together and had an engagement for the following day.. I left him sober, but he did not keep the engagement and wrote me that he was ill. [page 443:]

SEPTEMBER 18 (SUNDAY): Poe is unable to keep his appointment to meet Frederick William Thomas at the Congress Hall Hotel. Before leaving for Washington, Thomas sees

John S. Du Solle, editor of The Spirit of the Times.

NOTE: For documentation, see the chronology for September 19 and 21.

SEPTEMBER 19: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, John S. Du Solle reports the visit of a popular writer: “Mr. Thomas[,] the gifted author of ‘Clinton Bradshaw,’ was in town yesterday, and left last evening for Washington, where he has an official situation.”

SEPTEMBER 21: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas:

I am afraid you will think that I keep my promises but indifferently well, since I failed to make my appearance at Congress Hall on Sunday, and I now, therefore, write to apologise. The will to be with you was not wanting — but, upon reaching home on Saturday night, I was taken with a severe chill and fever — the latter keeping me company all next day. I found myself too ill to venture out, but, nevertheless, would have done so had I been able to obtain the consent of all parties. As it was I was quite in a quandary, for we keep no servant and no messenger could be procured in the neighbourhood. I contented myself with the reflection that you would not think it necessary to wait for me very long after 9 o’clock, and that you were not quite as implacable in your resentments as myself. I was much in hope that you would have made your way out in the afternoon. Virginia &Mrs C. were much grieved at not being able to bid you farewell.

I perceive by Du Solle's paper that you saw him. He announced your presence in the city on Sunday, in very handsome terms.

I am about going on a pilgrimage, this morning to hunt up a copy of “Clinton Bradshaw” &will send it to you as soon as procured.

NOTE: Letters, I, 213-14. Poe's letter is dated “Sep. 1842,” [page 444:] but postmarked September 21. It could have been written on Monday, September 19, or Tuesday, September 20. Thomas’ account of his visit, reproduced in the chronology for September 17, leaves the impression that Poe may have been unable to appear at -the Congress Hall Hotel on Sunday because of excessive drinking, rather than because of the “severe chill and fever” he offered as an explanation in the present letter. Clinton Bradshaw (1835), Thomas’ first novel, was extremely popular.

SEPTEMBER 21: John Tomlin writes Poe.

NOTE: This letter has not been found; from Poe's October reply, it appears that Tomlin had seen a notice of the forthcoming Penn Magazine and had written to offer his support for this project.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Saturday Evening Post, p. 3, col. 3, reviews The Gift for 1843, noting that it features a contribution by Poe.

NOTE: The Gift contained the first printing of “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

SEPTEMBER 26: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports that “T. W. White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, has received a paralytic stroke.”

SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Holley Chivers, in New York City, writes Poe:

Just before I started to the South, I gave Mr Hunt a poem entitled “The Mighty Dead,” which I directed him to give to Israel Post, to be directed to you. I have just seen Post, and he informs me that the Package was never handed to him. I am very uneasy to know what disposition he made of the poem, as I am fearful that [page 445:] he has caused you to pay the postage on it, when I directed him to send it by Post. I do wish that if you received the poem that you will let me know immediately whether or not you were so imposed upon, as I positively assure you it was without my knowledge. Mr Hunt is since dead, and I am unable to find out what has become of it. Will you have the goodness to return, by private conveyance, the poem to which I have alluded?

NOTE: Works of Chivers: The Correspondence, p. 16. The editors of The Correspondence suggest that Mr. Hunt may have been a relative of Chivers’ wife; they provide additional information on Israel Post, a New York bookseller and publisher. The editors, p. 13, state that “Poe returned the poem, ‘Invocation to Spring’ . ... . Chivers published it first in The Magnolia (II, 356, Charleston, S.C., May, 1843) . . “

SEPTEMBER 27: Poe replies to Thomas Holley Chivers’ letter of September 15, which he did not receive “until this morning”; he thanks his correspondent for sending the names of four subscribers to the Penn Magazine. Poe has not yet printed a Prospectus; in fact, he does not wish to announce his “positive resumption of the original scheme until about the middle of October.” He explains:

Before that period I have reason to believe that I shall have received an appointment in the Philadelphia Custom House, which will afford me a good salary and leave the greater portion of my time unemployed. With this appointment; to fall back upon, as a certain resource, I shall be enabled to start the Magazine without difficulty, provided I can make an arrangement with either a practical printer possessing a small office, or some one not a printer, with about $1000 at command. ... .

It would, of course, be better for the permanent influence and success of the journal that I unite myself with a gentleman of education &similarity of thought and feeling. It was this consciousness which induced me to suggest the enterprise to yourself. I know no [page 446:] one with whom I would more readily enter into association than yourself.

Poe optimistically assesses the prospects of the Penn Magazine. Although his “political views” are not reflected by an existing party, he has “the highest respect” for President Tyler “personally, &as an honest statesman.” It has been “hinted” to Poe that he will be given “the most effectual patronage from Government, for a journal which will admit occasional papers in support of the Administration. ... . this alone will more than sustain the Magazine.” He foresees but a single obstacle: “The only real difficulty lies in the beginning — in the pecuniary means for getting out the two (or three) first numbers; after this all is sure, and a great triumph may, and indeed will be achieved.” Poe provides Chivers with an enticing projection of the magazine's expenses, profits, and circulation:

It would be proper to start with an edition of 1000 copies. For this number, the monthly expense, including paper (of the finest quality)[,] composition, press-work &stitching will be about 180$. I calculate all expenses at about $250 — which is $3000 per annum — a very liberal estimate. 1000 copies at $5=5000$ — leaving a nett profit of 2000$, even supposing we have only 1000 subscribers. But I am sure of beginning with at least 500, and make no doubt of obtaining 5000 before the expiration of the 2d year. A Magazine, such as I propose, with 5000 subscribers will produce us each an income of some $10,000; and this you will acknowledge is a game worth playing. At the same time there is no earthly reason why such a Magazine may not, eventually, reach a circulation as great as that of “Graham's” at present — viz 50,000.

Poe regrets to state that the Philadelphia publishers would not consider Chivers’ poem “The Mighty Dead”: “The only condition, I am afraid, upon which the poem can be printed, is that you print at your own expense.” He promises to see [page 447:] Rufus W. Griswold and “endeavour to get the smaller poems from him.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 214-16. In his June 11, 1842, letter Chivers submitted the “Invocation to Spring,” which Poe later returned to him, and several other poems, which passed into Griswold's possession. On the front of Poe's September 27 letter, Chivers wrote that his correspondent never returned the poems held by Griswold; see the editors’ note, Works of Chivers: The Correspondence, p. 19. For additional information, see the chronology for July 6, 12, September 15, 26, 1842. In July Graham's Magazine had claimed a circulation. of over fifty thousand copies; it is very unlikely that Poe's proposed Penn Magazine, intended for readers of intellectual sophistication, could have obtained a comparable circulation.

October, 1842

OCTOBER: Graham's Magazine publishes Poe's scathing criticism of “The Poetry of Rufus Dawes.” His verdict on this Baltimore poetaster is altogether negative:

Simplicity, perspicuity and vigor, or a well-disciplined ornateness of language, have done wonders for the reputation of many a writer really deficient in the higher and more essential qualities of the Muse. But upon these minor points of manner our poet [Dawes] has not even the shadow of a shadow to sustain him. His works, in this respect, may be regarded as a theatrical world of mere verbiage, somewhat speciously bedizened with a tinselly meaning well adapted to the eyes of the rabble. There is not a page of anything that he has written which will bear, for an instant, the scrutiny of a critical eye.

NOTE: During his residence in Philadelphia, Poe had made at [page 448:] least two previous attempts to publish a devastating critique of Dawes (see the chronology for May 30, 1839, and July 18, 1842). In reviewing the October Graham's for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, October 1, p. 2, col. 6, Joseph Evans Snodgra.ss commented: “Edgar A. Poe completely ‘uses up’ Rufus Dawes in a review. Dawes, in poetry, is pretty much of a humbug, it must be confessed.” Another reaction to this critique may be found in James Russell Lowell's November 19, 1842, letter to Poe.

OCTOBER: Snowden's Ladies’ Companion publishes “The Landscape-Garden.”

NOTE: When Poe revised this story, he gave it a new title: “The Domain of Arnheim.”

OCTOBER 3: Poe writes Robert Hamilton, editor of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion:


Oct. 3. 1842.

My Dear Hamilton,

I see that you have my Landscape-Garden in your last number — but, oh Jupiter! the typographical blunders. Have You been sick, or what is the matter? I wrote you, some time since, saying that if, upon perusal of the “Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” you found anything not precisely suited to your pages, I would gladly re-purchase it; but, should you conclude to retain it, for God's sake contrive to send me the proofs; or, at all events read them yourself. Such errors as occur in the “Landscape-Garden” would completely ruin a tale such as “Marie Rogêt.”

How about the $5 due? Try and get it for me &send it by return mail and “as in duty bound we shall ever pray” &c &c.

But, if you consent to my re-purchase of the tale, retain the V in part payment, and let me know, when I will forward the balance. [page 449:]

I am as straight as judges — somewhat more straight indeed than some of our Phil: dignitaries — and, what is more, I intend to keep straight.

Do write immediately. Yours truly Edgar A Poe

Rob. Hamilton Esqr

NOTE: MS, Humanities; Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. This letter was first published by Joseph J. Moldenhauer in his Descriptive Catalog of Edgar Allan Poe Manuscripts in the Humanities Research Center Library (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas at Austin, 1973), pp. 55-56. Poe could have sold “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” to Hamilton during his June visit to New York City, which was marred by excessive drinking (see the chronology for circa June 25). The fact that in the present letter he assured Hamilton of his sobriety suggests that this New York editor may have recently seen him under the influence of alcohol.

OCTOBER 5: Poe replies to a September 21 letter from John Tomlin, the postmaster of Jackson, Tennessee: “It is my firm determination. to commence the ‘Penn Magazine’ on the first of January next. The difficulties which impeded me last year have vanished, and there will be now nothing to prevent success.” He explains his optimism: “I am to receive an office in the Custom House in this city, which will leave me the greater portion of my time unemployed, while, at the same time, it will afford me a good salary. With this to fall back upon as a certain resource until the Magazine is fairly afloat, all must go well. After the elections here (2d Tuesday in this month,) I will issue my new prospectuses and set to work in good earnest. As [page 450:] soon as printed, I will send you some.” Poe requests that Tomlin aid him by obtaining subscribers: “Every new name, in the beginning of the enterprise, is worth five afterwards.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 215-17. The Philadelphia elections were held on October 11; there is no evidence that Poe subsequently issued a new Prospectus of the Penn Magazine.

OCTOBER 5: Lambert A. Wilmer replies to two recent letters from John Tomlin: “Your beautiful and truly poetic verses were in type in less than two hours after their reception, and were published in the next issue of our paper, a copy of which I caused to be mailed to your address. Mr. Andrews, the publisher of the Express, requests me to add his thanks to mine for the contribution.” Apparently in response to Tomlin's query, Wilmer discusses the fate of his proposed journal, the Monthly Tourist, and Poe's Penn Magazine: “I believe the tightness of the times and the uncertain state of the currency have prevented Poe's Magazine enterprise and my own, — at least for the present.” Wilmer mentions Tomlin's defense of The Quacks of Helicon: “I have never been able to get a sight of your critique on the Q. of H. in the Guardian. The copy you sent fell into the hands of Poe, who lost or mislaid it before I could set eyes on it. I was vexed at this circumstance, as I intended to have the article copied into some of our city papers.” Since Wilmer last wrote Tomlin, he has “completed a new poem of some 250 lines, called ‘Recantation,’ being an ironical retraction of the opinions set forth in the Quacks of Helicon.” He adds: “As a testimony of my esteem and friendship, I would dedicate this new effort to yourself, if I thought; the compliment would be acceptable. ... . If you like the idea, please let me know. If you [page 451:] think it might excite enmity towards yourself, by having your name in any manner connected with a satirical effusion of the kind, it may ‘be better for me to take some other opportunity for giving you such a demonstration of good feeling as I would wish.” Apparently in response to Tomlin's query, Wilmer gives his opinion of another Philadelphia literary figure: “You may rely upon it that Peterson is a most odious and contemptible character, and I have lately put him to the rack in such a way as made him a whining supplicant for mercy. I now consider him beneath my resentment.”

NOTE: Tomlin published Wilmer's letter in “The Autobiography of a Monomaniac,” Holden's Dollar Magazine, 2 (November, 1848), 647-48. In Our Press Gang, p. 42, Wilmer identified M. Hardin Andrews as the publisher of the Philadelphia Evening Express; for additional information on this newspaper, see the chronology for November 24 and December 9, 1842. For Wilmer's proposed magazine, see the chronology for January 12 and March 9, 1842. His present letter provides further evidence of his continued intimacy with Poe; for additional information on their relations during the Philadelphia period, see the chronology for May 20, August 28, and September 10, 1843. Tomlin's critique in The Guardian is discussed in the chronology for March 9, 1842. Wilmer's “Recantation,” which was dedicated to Tomlin, was published shortly before March 3, 1843. Charles J. Peterson was also in correspondence with Tomlin (see the chronology for November 11, 1842).

OCTOBER 8: The Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 1, announces that it has absorbed two smaller Philadelphia newspapers: [page 452:]


The proprietors of the Saturday Evening Post have purchased the entire establishment of the SATURDAY CHRONICLE of this city, of Messrs. Matthias &Taylor, and also the UNITED STATES newspaper, published heretofore by Messrs. Swain, Abell &Simmons. The immense subscription lists of the two concerns they purpose to unite to that of the Saturday Evening Post, which will give them a weekly edition far surpassing any establishment in the United States. The joint circulation of the periodicals issued by the subscribers will now be over 100,000. They can therefore now afford to encounter increased expenses for the advantage of the reader, and publish a cheaper paper for the quality than any other establishment. The paper will hereafter be issued under the title of the “UNITED STATES SATURDAY POST AND CHRONICLE.”


NOTE: The Post underwent many minor changes of title. George Lippard satirized the continued expansion of George R. Graham &Co. in “The Spermaceti Papers” (see the chronology for May 31, 1843).

OCTOBER 11: Elections are held in Philadelphia city and county.

NOTE: In The Spirit of the Times, October 12, p. 2, col. 2, John S. Du Solle reported the results: “The City has one for the Whigs as usual. The County has gone for Democracy.”

POST OCTOBER 11: Anticipating an appointment to the Philadelphia Custom House, Poe calls three times on Thomas S. Smith, the new Collector.

NOTE: Poe had a fourth and final “interview” with Smith on November 19; in his letter to Frederick William Thomas written on the same day, he described his first three meetings with the new Collector: [page 453:]

As for me, he [Smith] has treated me most shamefully. In my case, there was no need of any political shuffling or lying. I professed my willingness to postpone my claims to those of political claimants; but he told me, upon my first interview after the election, that if I would call on the fourth day he would swear me in. I called &he was not at home. On the next day I called again &saw him, when he told me that he would send a Messenger for me when ready:-this without even inquiring my place of residence-showing that he had, from the first, no design of appointing me. Well, I waited nearly a month, when, finding nearly all the appts made, I again called.

He did not even ask me to be seated — scarcely spoke-muttered the words “I will send for you Mr Poe” — and that was all.

McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1842 locates Smith's residence at 72 South Eleventh Street. A portrait of the Custom House, which was located on the west side of Second Street above Spruce, may be found in Joseph Jackson's Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, II, 536-37.

OCTOBER 18: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, announces fifteen new appointments to the Philadelphia Custom House. One of the nine inspectors appointed is Robert S. English

NOTE: English was the father of Thomas Dunn English.

OCTOBER 19: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports additional appointments and removals in the Custom House.

OCTOBER 19: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James T. Fields: “My health is very poor. Do not at any time be surprised to hear of my death. Cough, night-sweats, want of sleep — but I myself tremble at the catalogue.”

NOTE: MS, Huntington Library. Griswold was suffering from [page 454:] tuberculosis.

OCTOBER 21: Henry J. Raymond, in New York City, writes Rufus W. Griswold: “The Boston Miscellany, I see, has a good puff of your Poets by Poe.”

NOTE: Passages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. Griswold, p. 125. Raymond, a young journalist, assisted Horace Greeley in editing the New-York Daily Tribune; Poe's review of The Poets and Poetry of America appeared in the November number of the Boston Miscellany.

OCTOBER 24: In the evening Thomas Dunn English and Henry B. Hirst are among the speakers who address a large meeting of the “Corporal's Guard.”

NOTE: This Tyler rally was reported by The Pennsylvanian, October 29, p. 2, col. 1.

OCTOBER 31: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, reports additional changes in the Custom House.

November, 1842

NOVEMBER: Snowden's Ladies’ Companion publishes the first installment of “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

NOTE: Two subsequent installments appeared in the December, 1842, and February, 1843, numbers of the Companion. The concluding installment probably was postponed from the January to the February number because of unforeseen developments in the Mary Rogers case during the third week in November; for additional information, see the chronology for November 14, 18, 19, and 21, 1842. [page 455:]

NOVEMBER: The Boston Miscellany publishes Poe's review of Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America. Although Poe expresses his disagreement with some of Griswold's critical judgments and with his partiality for New England writers, he describes this anthology as “the most important addition which our literature has for many ears received. ... . Mr. Griswold . ... has entitled himself to the thank: of his countrymen, while showing himself a man of taste, talent, and tact.”

NOTE: The circumstances under which this review was written are discussed in the chronology for July, July 10, August 12, September 7, 12, and October 21, 1842.

NOVEMBER 1: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, reports “Custom House Changes. — Seven appointments and removals were made at the Custom House yesterday.”

NOVEMBER 1: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 6, carries an advertisement:

TYLER AND DEMOCRACY — The Democratic Citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia in favor of the present Democratic principles of PRESIDENT TYLER, as expressed in his vetoes of the Bank of the United States, and the Distribution bill, and opposed to the “Clay Whig faction,” who are seeking to usurp the name of Democrats for the sake of office — to deceive the President and betray “the party of the people” in the crisis which is coming in ‘44-are requested to meet at the house of’ Joseph Hall, SECOND Street, below ARCH, (Hall's Hotel,) on WEDNESDAY EVENING NEXT, at 7 o’clock.

NOTE: The advertisement was repeated in the November 2 issue of the Ledger, p. 1, col. 1. This meeting was called by Thomas Fitnam, Joseph Hall, and other Tyler backers who had previously been Democrats. Most of the President's supporters in Philadelphia were former Whigs [page 456:] and belonged to a faction called the “Corporal's Guard,” which was headed by Joseph Washington Tyson, Thomas Dunn English, and Thomas ~`3. Smith, the new Collector of the Port. Fitnam and his associates represented a minority group; they were disgruntled. because they had little voice in the proceedings of the “Corporal's Guard” and because Smith appointed few Democrats to the vacancies in the Custom House. Thomas Dunn English played a prominent role in the controversy which followed this call for a meeting of the Philadelphia Democrats who supported John Tyler; Poe, who still expected to receive a position in the Custom House, almost certainly read the newspaper reports of this political turmoil with great interest. Additional information may be found in the chronology for November 2, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 1842. The most detailed account of the controversy is provided by Gravely, “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 133-53.

NOVEMBER 2: In the evening a meeting of the Philadelphia supporters of President Tyler is held at Joseph Hall's Hotel on Second Street. This rally is attended not only by the “Democratic Citizens” whose presence was requested by a notice in the Public Ledger for November 1 and 2, but also by the “Corporal's Guard,” a faction composed largely of former Whigs. The members of the “Corporal's Guard,” being in a majority, take control of the meeting; and on the motion of Thomas Dunn English, they pass resolutions affirming that their organization alone represents the Tyler administration in Philadelphia and praising the appointment of Thomas S. Smith to the Collectorship as evidence of the President's “sagacity and patriotism.”

NOTE: Henry A. Wise described this meeting and condemned the [page 457:] high-handed actions of the “Corporal's Guard” in the November 9 issue of the Washington Daily Madisonian (see the chronology). A briefer account of the incident may be found in the Philadelphia North American, November 8, p. 2, col. 1. Thomas Fitnam and the other Democrats who were suppressed at this meeting subsequently formed their own Tyler organization (see the chronology for November 11, 1842).

NOVEMBER 6: In the evening Rufus W. Griswold returns to Philadelphia from New York City, where his wife Caroline Searles Griswold has just given birth to a son.

NOTE: This entry is based on Griswold's November 10 letter to James T. Fields and his November 22 letter to James Fenimore Cooper.

NOVEMBER 9: The Washington Daily Madisonian, p. 2, cols. 46, publishes a lengthy report of a Tyler meeting held in Philadelphia on November 2; it is written by a correspondent who signs himself “Hawk-eye.” This writer strongly condemns Joseph Washington Tyson, Thomas Dunn English, and other leaders of the “Corporal's Guard” for the high-handed manner in which they have suppressed Thomas Fitnam and other Democrats who support the President.

NOTE: The Daily Madisonian was the official organ of the Tyler administration; “Hawk-eye” was a pseudonym used by Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876), a representative from Virginia who was a personal friend of President Tyler and the leader of the administration's backers in Congress. Wise feared that the actions of the “Corporal's Guard” might alienate the administration from many Democratic voters. He was an impetuous and tactless politician who had [page 458:] previously been involved in several duels; his blistering attack on Tyson and English was not authorized by the President. The November 14 issue of the Public Ledger contained English's stinging reply to Wise (see the chronology).

NOVEMBER 9: The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. 2, discusses Philadelphia's reaction to the latest work by Charles Dickens:

BOZ —”AMERICAN NOTES FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION.” — There was quite an excitement about town yesterday in reference to the new word [work] by “Boz.” The news boys did a smashing business in selling what it pleased them to call “Dickinson's Works on Amerikey,” and Zieber, at the corner of Third and Dock streets, disposed of fifteen hundred extras of the “New World,” containing this literary novelty, in the course of an hour. He might probably have sold as many more, but his supply for that day was exhausted. He has now however an abundance to meet the demand. Burgess, at the Ledger Buildings, also has the new work, in an extra of the “Brother Jonathan.” It was all “Boz, Boz” yesterday, and no doubt will be so to-day.

NOTE: George B. Zieber and W. F. Burgess were periodical agents. The New World and the Brother Jonathan were weekly newspapers issued in New York City; these two journals were sufficiently popular that they issued both folio and quarto editions — the quarto editions being more suitable for preservation by libraries. They also published “extras” which contained complete novels, histories, and other book-length works.

NOVEMBER 9: A messenger informs Rufus W. Griswold that his wife and infant son are dead. Griswold leaves Philadelphia for New York City on the night train.

NOTE: This entry is based on Griswold's November 10 letter [page 459:] to James T. Fields and his November 22 letter to James Fenimore Cooper.

NOVEMBER 10: Rufus W. Griswold, in New York City, writes James T. Fields in Boston:

The kindness of your former friendship leads me my dear James to believe you will sympathise with me in my present terrible afflictions. It is after midnight, and I have sat for thirty hours beside the dead body of my adored wife. Near me are the watche[r]s, and they have been urging me to sleep, as if I could find rest who am made desolate and a mourner for ever. My dearest Caroline! I speak to her but she doers not hear me — I kiss her cold lips, but their fervor is gone — I look upon her cold, glazed eyes, and though their wonted kindness of expression is not all gone, they give back to me no look of confidence and love.

You know something of our history. Five years, last March, since we were married! It was the early spring time, when the buds were just beginning to blossom, for she wore flowers in her hair that night. Now I have the desolate November blasts, and in a few hours her body will be laid in the cold ground to remain forever! — Yes, the summer of my life is ended — the winter has come to my spirit, and of joys I shall not, I would not drink again in this dreary world.

I was not with her when she died — my beloved! — I left her last Sunday evening [November 61, in good health, to return to Philadelphia. Yesterday, word was brought to me that my dear wife and my only son were both dead! I came in the night train — I have sat by her since — and until 11 o’clock I shall not cease to embrace her. They will bury her then — bury my dear Caroline and my child from my sight! O God, I never dreamed that she should go before me from the world.

I know not what to write — I know not how to describe my anguish — so sudden, so unlooked for, so terrible a bereavement! I was not unprepared for death myself — the feebleness of my health — the wreck of my mind — my previous misfortunes — all taught me to look forward to death as a friend. I had but one regret — my dearest wife I knew loved me tenderly, and in dreams I saw her bending over me in my coffin, with tears flowing from her eyes. Dearest, kindest, Caroline! . ... [page 460:]

NOTE: MS, Huntington Library. Additional information on the death of Griswold's wife and son may be found in Bayless’ Rufus Wilmot Griswold, pp. 64-66.

NOVEMBER 11: Charles J. Peterson, in Philadelphia, replies to a recent letter from John Tomlin, the postmaster of Jackson, Tennessee:

You ask me for a line of literary news. There is little afloat, and of that little the “Notes for General Circulation” contribute the chief topic. Boz has done as much justice to this country as we deserve, and quite as much as any dispassionate American would ask for. He has been as impartial as he could be considering the character of his mind, for while he notices details accurately he is not capable of comprehensive views, and his imagination, like a woman's, conquers his more reasoning faculties. This is the key to his book as well as to his mind. You see — if you have read the notes — that he judges the press from a few scandalous or intemperate journals of New York; as his opinions on slavery are based on narrow views, exceptions, and distorted facts gathered from the Anti-Slavery publications. I didn’t see Boz, but Poe did, and he said at the time that my estimate of Dickens’ character was correct. You have great faith in Poe, and if you will read the “Notes” you will agree with me.

Peterson discusses the three Philadelphia journals with which he is connected — Graham's Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, and the Lady's World of Fashion:

Our establishment [George R. Graham &Co.] is now pretty thoroughly organized. We have got Weld for the Post, a journal we have never had time properly to edit, and he will make it a great weekly, or I mistake his character. Graham [i.e., Graham's Magazine ] is verging into the solid literature slowly, cutting the fashion plates as much as possible, and indulging in more heavy prose. You know the list of contributors for next year. My magazine [the Lady's World of Fashion will slide into the position left by Graham-that is we will make it light, spicy, romantic, and lady-like, sprinkling into it, here and there, critical [page 461:] articles,&c.,&c. It will be like the Lady's Book and Lady's Companion, though at a less price. We think we can, with the two periodicals, meet every taste. Thanks for what you have done for us!

Your poetry is often very beautiful. When shall I hear from you again? Have you tried your hand lately at a short tale?

NOTE: Tomlin published Peterson's letter in his “Autobiography of a Monomaniac,” Holden's Dollar Magazine, 4 (August, 1849), 460-61. American Notes, Charles Dickens’ controversial account of his 1842 visit to the United States, had been on sale in Philadelphia for several days (see the chronology for November 9). The December, 1842, number of Graham's Magazine (Vol. 21, p. 344) carried a notice that Horatio Hastings Weld, formerly editor of the Brother Jonathan in New York City, had assumed the editorship of the Saturday Evening Post. Peterson's Lady's World of Fashion, a saccharine monthly, was in competition with Godey's Lady's Book and Snowden's Ladies’ Companion.

NOVEMBER 11: The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. 2, reports dissension in the ranks of the “Corporal's Guard” in Philadelphia: “We learn that not long since quite a schism took place in the ranks of the Guard, which resulted in the separation of some of its members and the call of another meeting at Hall's, in Second street. ... . This difficulty is alluded to at some length in a recent number of the Madisonian, by a writer, who, according to the editor of that paper, has ‘vast political experience,’ and a most ‘perfect knowledge of the merits of the case.’ Those who have read his remarks, think that the writer in question is decidedly ‘Wise’ in his observations. ... .

NOTE: The schism occurred at a Tyler meeting on November 2; experienced political observers had no difficulty in [page 462:] identifying Henry A. Wise, the President's adviser, as the author of the pseudonymous attack on the leaders of the “Corporal's Guard” which appeared in the Washington Daily Madisonian on November 9.

NOVEMBER 12: The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. 5, reports the organization of a second Tyler faction: “A very numerous enthusiastic meeting of the ‘TYLER DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION,’ of the city and county of Philadelphia, was held at Hall's Hotel on Thursday evening, 10th inst., Joseph Hall, Esq. in the chair.” The leaders of the “Tyler Democratic Association” are Thomas Fitnam, Joseph Hall, and W. B. Duval. This association was formed as “the result of a decided Democratic opposition by a. large minority of a combination of men known as the ‘Corporal's Guard,’ to the anti-republican, selfish Clay Whig proceedings of the Guard, as distinctly shown at one of its late meetings.” The “Tyler Democratic Association” announces its support for “the Jeffersonian republican principles of government” as practiced by Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and John Tyler. It denounces “the ‘Iron rule’ of the Corporal's Guard” as “inimical to the true interests of President Tyler's administration.”

NOVEMBER 14: The Public Ledger, p. 2, cols. 5-6, publishes a lengthy letter from Thomas Dunn English:

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MADISONIAN — SIR: It is not my habit to notice the attacks of every sneaking coward and covert assassin who may stab at the character of honest men, under the protection of an anonymous signature; but an article, which was signed “Hawk-eye,” having appeared in your paper of the 9th inst., and there being upon its face full evidence, when taken in connection with corroborating circumstances, that it is the production of the notorious HENRY A. WISE, I can repel its unfounded falsehoods in such manner as I deem proper, and give to its malicious in[n]uendoes [page 463:] concerning myself, such notice as they may seem to demand. I shall not attempt in so doing, to defend Mr. Tyson, with abuse of whom the greater part of the article is occupied, since he is fully able to vindicate himself, should he stoop to notice the anonymous libeller.

English continues his vitriolic attack for the better part of a column; he condemns Wise as “a back-door adviser, whose malignant heart, the repository of a thousand hellish passions and jealous whims, render[s] him incapable of appreciating generosity or honor, and impels him to hate all those whose virtues he cannot emulate.”

NOTE: English's reply to Wise is reprinted in its entirety by Gravely, “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 147-50, who describes it as “the first of a series of controversial replies that were to mark his long career and which did much to gain for him the reputation of being fond of public dispute and coarse invective.” Poe seems to have read English's attack with care. In his June 27, 1846, letter to Henry B. Hirst (Letters, II, 321-22), he asked: “Is it possible to procure me a copy of E's attack on H. A. Wise?” He discussed English's dispute with Wise at greater length in his “Reply to Mr. English,” reprinted by Moss, Poe's Major Crisis, pp. 50-59.

NOVEMBER 14: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports on “MARY ROGERS AGAIN. — The New York Tattler states that there is a rumor abroad that the woman who kept the little tavern at Weehawken, at the time of the murder of Mary Rogers, has made some disclosures concerning that dark and mysterious crime. Humbug!”

NOTE: For additional information on the new developments in the Mary Rogers case, see the chronology for November 18, 19, and 21, 1842. [page 464:]

NOVEMBER 14: Frederick William Thomas writes Poe, giving him “new hope” of an appointment to the Philadelphia Custom House.

NOTE: This letter is mentioned in Poe's November 19 reply.

NOVEMBER 15: The Washington Daily Madisonian, p. 2, col. 5, publishes a second communication from “Hawk-eye” (Henry A. Wise): “Hawk-eye has seen the anticipated result of the Tyson meeting. Poor Fitnam has been removed by Postmaster Montgomery from his humble place of ‘Carrier in the P. O.,’ and the motive of the removal is well understood here. Fitnam's offence was an anonymous call for a meeting, and an insulting refusal to confess that his object in the call was treason — not to Mr. Montgomery, but to Mr. Tyson.”

NOTE: The postmaster of Philadelphia was John C. Montgomery; Thomas Fitnam was a supporter of the President who was at loggerheads with Joseph Washington Tyson, the foremost leader of the “Corporal's Guard,” the predominant Tyler faction in the city. In the November 1 and 2 issues of the Public Ledger, Fitnam and his associates had placed “an anonymous call” for a meeting of Philadelphia Democrats who supported the President, but objected to the “Clay Whig faction” (i.e., the “Corporal's Guard,” which was composed largely of former Whigs). Fitnam was almost certainly removed from his position in the Post Office because of his opposition to Tyson; he published a blistering attack on Thomas Dunn English, one of Tyson's associates, in the November 17 issue of the Public Ledger (see the chronology).

NOVEMBER 16: Poe writes James Russell Lowell in Boston:

Learning your design of commencing a Magazine, in Boston, upon the first of January next, I take the liberty of asking whether some arrangement might not [page 465:] be made, by which I should become a regular contributor[[.]]

I should be glad to furnish a short article each month — of such character as might be suggested by yourself — and upon such terms as you could afford “in the beginning”.

That your success will be marked and permanent I will not doubt. At all events, I most sincerely wish you well; for no man in America has excited in me so much of admiration — and, therefore, none so much of respect and esteem — as the author of “Rosaline”.

NOTE: Letters, I, 217. This is the first letter in the Poe-Lowell correspondence. Lowell's magazine, The Pioneer, survived for only three monthly numbers, from January to March, 1843.

NOVEMBER 17: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 6, publishes a letter from Thomas Fitnam:

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MADISONIAN. — Sir, having seen a scurrilous attack on the HON. HENRY A. WISE, of Va, in the “Public Ledger” of the 11th [14th] inst., over the signature of THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH, I deem it right to inform you and that part of the public who know nothing of the fellow to give you and them a short biographical sketch of his life.

“Doctor Thomas Dunn English, M. D.” is a boy I should suppose about nineteen or twenty years old, who, for the want of patients, has commenced the study of law. His father, until his recent appointment under Thomas S. Smith, was Ferryman on the Schuylkill opposite the Poor House. This English has the most consummate impudence of any one that I have ever known, for he is continually thrusting himself on the notice of gentlemen by means of insults and abuse, as he knows that he would be unknown in any other character. He is a kind of jackall to J. Washington Tyson, who, I know, looks on him as a caricature of Jim Crow; and although he avows himself a disinterested friend of the administration, he took care to get his father appointed an Inspector of Customs. He is beneath even the contempt of his sable prototype whom he resembles in features and manners, much more that of Mr. Wise [sic ], and if he were worth the trouble of a caning I should give it to him for using that gentleman's name without leave. Where he got the money from to pay for his [page 466:] advertisement, is a mystery to me as it must be to others, for it was always a question of prudence with me when “a carrier in the P. O. “ whether I should trust him for the postage of a letter or not. Well may the “Spirit of the Times” ask “who this Thomas Dunn English is,” as there is nothing of — the thing but the name.


NOTE: English was twenty-three years old; he had received his Doctor of Medicine degree on April 5, 1839, at the age of nineteen. Evidence that he was studying law is provided by his admission to the Philadelphia bar on October 7, 1843. The appointment of Robert S. English, his father, as an Inspector of Customs was reported by The Spirit of the Times on October 18, 1842. There seems to be no definite evidence that Robert S. English was ever a “Ferryman on the Schuylkill,” but Poe repeated Fitnam's assertion in his sketch of “Thomas Dunn Brown” (Works, XV, 266-70): “Mr. Brown [Thomas Dunn English] has at least that amount of talent which would enable him to succeed in his father's profession — that of a ferryman on the Schuylkill . ... .”

NOVEMBER 17: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 5, reports that a new biography of President Tyler, “compiled from authentic sources,” is now offered for sale by Colon, the bookseller. On November 18 The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. 3, carries a similar notice, adding that this “Life of John Tyler, in pamphlet form,” is “said to be from the pen of Dr. T. D. English.”

NOTE: A copy of A Brief’ Sketch of the Life of John Tyler, President of the United States, Compiled from Authentic Sources (Philadelphia: J. R. Colon, 1842) is held by the Library of Congress. Although this thirty-six page pamphlet contains no clue to its author's identity, The Pennsylvanian's November 18 notice provides strong evidence that [page 467:] it was written by Thomas Dunn English, as does the advance notice published by The Spirit of the Times on June 6, 1842 (see the chronology).

NOVEMBER 17: The Philadelphia National Forum, p. 2, col. 3, reports:

Custom House Removals and Appointments. — The following removals and appointments have been made in the Custom House. Removals — Peter B. Curry, Henry Schell, Robert Neal, J. Hullings, and Urban R. Titterville. Appointments — George Guthrie, Jesse Waln, Sandy Harris, and — Pogue.

NOTE: Frederick William Thomas’ encouraging letter of November 14 and the reported appointment of an unidentified “Pogue” led Poe to believe that he had finally received a position in the Philadelphia Custom House (see his November 19 reply to Thomas). Apparently, only several of the city's lesser newspapers reported Pogue's appointment; he was not mentioned, for example, in the Public Ledger, The Spirit of the Times, The Pennsylvanian, the United States Gazette, or the North American. In his “Thomas Dunn English,” p. 332, Gravely established that Thomas S. Smith, the Collector of Customs, never appointed any person named Pogue.

NOVEMBER 17: Charles Dickens writes Edward Moxon, a London publisher, concerning the proposed publication of “an American poet “ in Great Britain: “Pray write me such a reply as I can send to the author of the volumes and to get absolution for my conscience in this matter.”

NOTE: This letter has not been located; the editors of The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 375, print only a fragment from the January, 1935, catalogue of the American Art Association. The “American poet “ for whom Dickens sought an English publisher was almost certainly Poe. Dickens [page 468:] would have remembered Poe as a poet because during their two interviews in Philadelphia they discussed the state of American poetry at length (see the chronology for circa March 7, 1842). In all probability, the “volumes” Dickens mentioned were the two volumes of the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque; Poe seems to have given him a presentation copy. Additional evidence that Dickens was alluding to Poe in his present letter is provided by his November 27 letter to Poe and by his February 28, 1862, letter to James McCarroll (see the chronology for November 27, 1842). Edward Moxon (1801-1858), a publisher of literary discrimination, had previously issued works by Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning, and other major English authors.

POST NOVEMBER 17: Edward Moxon writes Charles Dickens, declining to publish an English edition of Poe's stories.

NOTE: Moxon's letter is mentioned in Dickens’ November 27 letter to Poe.

NOVEMBER 18: The New York Tribune reports the solution of the Mary Rogers mystery: the pretty cigar girl was not murdered, but had died. during an illegal abortion.

NOTE: The Tribune's account was discussed by the Philadelphia newspapers on November 19 (see the chronology). The mutilated body of Mary Rogers had been discovered near Hoboken, New Jersey, on July 28, 1841; Poe attempted to solve this famous murder case in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” a lengthy tale which featured C. Auguste Dupin, the detective hero of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” In his June 4, 1842, letters to George Roberts and Joseph Evans Snodgrass, Poe boasted that in his tale he had actually “indicated the [page 469:] assassin “ of Mary Rogers. The November number of Snowden's Ladies’ Companion contained the first of three installments of “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

NOVEMBER 19: The Philadelphia papers report the solution of the Mary Rogers case. The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, mentions the matter only briefly: “Two persons have been arrested, and are in custody at Jersey City, supposed to have had a hand in the murder of Mary Rogers, the pretty Cigar Girl. It is thought that this mysterious matter is likely now to be explained.” Fuller accounts are carried by the Daily Chronicle and the Public Ledger. The North American, p. 2, col. 4, simply reprints the Tribune's story:

From the New York Tribune.


The terrible mystery which for more than a year has hung over the fate of Mary Rogers, whose body was found, as our readers will well remember, in the North River, under circumstances such as convinced every one that she was the victim of hellish lust and then of murder, is at last explained — to the satisfaction we doubt not of all. It may be recollected that associated with the tale of her disappearance was the name of Mrs. Loss, the woman who kept the refreshment house nearest the scene of her death. About a week since, as we have already stated, this woman was accidentally wounded by the premature discharge of a gun in the hands of her son; the wound proved fatal; but before she died she sent for Justice Merritt, of New Jersey, and told him the following facts.

On the Sunday of Miss Rogers’ disappearance she came to her house from this city in company with a young physician, who undertook to procure for her a premature delivery.

While in the hands of the physician she died, and a consultation was then held as to the disposal of her body. It was finally taken at night by the son of Mrs. Loss and sunk in the river where it was found. Her clothes were first tied up in a bundle and sunk in a [page 470:] pond on the land of Mr. James G. King in that neighborhood; but it was afterward thought they were not safe there, and they were accordingly taken and scattered through the woods as they were found. The name of the physician is unknown to us, nor do we know whether it was divulged or not. The Mayor has been made acquainted with these facts by Mr. Merritt, and we doubt not an immediate inquiry after the guilty wretch will be made. The son of Mrs. Loss, as an accessary after the fact, we suppose will. be — if he has not already been — arrested. No doubt, we apprehend, can be entertained of the truth of this confession. It explains many things connected with the affair which before were wrapped in mystery-especially the apathy of the mother of Miss Rogers

upon the discovery of her body. It will be remembered that she did not even go to identify it, and made no enquiries concerning the affair.

Thus has this fearful mystery, which has struck fear and terror to so many hearts, been at last explained by circumstances in which no one can fail to perceive a Providential agency. Besides the guilty murderer, the secret rested with two persons. One of these, through the involuntary agency of the other, is laid upon her death bed — and then Conscience, no longer able to keep silence, breathes its accusation into the ear of Justice. We rejoice most deeply at this revelation, and that the scene of the unhappy victim's death is relieved of some of the horrors with which conjecture, apparently well founded, had surrounded it.

NOTE: These reports would have been very disturbing to Poe: “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” in which he believed he had “indicated the assassin “ of Mary Rogers, was then being serialized by Snowden's Ladies’ Companion; if the girl had died during an abortion, his tale would be completely out-of-date, and his master detective Dupin would appear foolish. This rumor, reported by the city's morning newspapers, may have prompted Poe's fourth visit to Thomas S. Smith in search of an occupation other than literature; in any case, it does much to explain the anguished tone of his letter to Frederick William Thomas, written later during the day. [page 471:]

NOVEMBER 19: Poe visits Thomas S. Smith, the Collector of the Port of Philadelphia, who bluntly refuses to consider him for a position in. the Custom House.

NOVEMBER 19: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas:

Your letter of the 14th gave me new hope — only to be dashed to the ground. On the day of its receipt, some of the papers announced four removals and appointments. Among the latter I observed the name —— Pogue. Upon inquiry among those behind the curtain, I soon found that no such person as —— Pogue had any expectation of an app! and that the name was a misprint or rather a misunderstanding of the reporters, who had heard my own name spoken of at the Custom-House. I waited 2 days without calling upon Mr Smith, as he had twice told me that “he would send for me when he wished to swear me in.” To-day, however, hearing nothing from him, I called. I asked him if he had no good news for me yet. He replied —”No, I am instructed to make no more removals.” At this, being much astonished, I mentioned that I had heard, through a friend, from Mr Rob. Tyler, that he was requested to appoint me. At these words he said, roughly, — “From whom did you say?” I replied from Mr Robert Tyler. I wish you could have seen the scoundrel — for scoundrel, my Dear Thomas in your private ear, he is —”From Robert Tyler!” says he —”hem: I have received orders from President Tyler to make no more appts and shall make none.” Immediately afterwards he acknowledged that he had made one appt since these instructions.

Mr Smith has excited the thorough disgust of every Tyler man here. He is a Whig of the worst stamp and will appoint none but Whigs if he can possibly avoid it. People here laugh at the idea of his being a Tyler man. He is notoriously not such.

Poe adds that Smith has treated him “most shamefully” in three previous interviews: “The whole manner of the man, from the first, convinced me that he would not appoint me if he could help it.” Poe believes, however, that he has not been insulted as much as Thomas’ friend, Robert Tyler, who requested his appointment. He asks Thomas “to lay the [page 472:] matter once again” before Robert Tyler, who can then “procure a few lines from the President “ which would direct Smith to give him a position. Thomas has no idea of the “low ruffians and boobies — men, too, without a shadow of political influence or caste — who have received office.” In a postscript Poe adds: “Write soon &if possible relieve my suspense. You cannot imagine the trouble I am in, &have been in for the last 2 months — unable to enter into any literary arrangements — or in fact to do anything — being in hourly expectation of getting the place.”

NOTE: Letters, II, 699-701. Thomas S. Smith, like most of the President's followers in Philadelphia, was a former Whig; Poe was not the only person who objected to the fact that he appointed mainly men of Whig background (see the chronology for September 15 and November 1, 1842). Poe's description of his first three interviews with Smith is entered in the chronology for post October 11, 1842. After his November 19 interview Poe almost certainly realized that the new Collector would not willingly appoint him to a position in the Custom House. Poe and Thomas subsequently rested their hopes of gaining the promised position on the strong possibility that the United States Senate would reject Smith's nomination, as it had rejected many of President Tyler's previous nominations, and that another Collector of Customs would be installed in office (see the chronology for circa January 30-31, February 1, 25, and March 3, 1843) .

NOVEMBER 19: James Russell Lowell replies to Poe's November 16 letter: “Your letter has given me great pleasure in two ways; — first, as it assures me of the friendship and approbation of almost the only fearless American critic, and second (to be Irish) since it contains your acquiescence to a request which I had already many times mentally [page 473:] preferred to you. Had you not written you would soon have heard from me.” Lowell gives his correspondent “carte blanche “ to contribute either prose or verse to The Pioneer, with a single exception: “namely I do not wish an article like that of yours on Dawes, who, although I think with you that he is a bad poet, has yet I doubt not tender feelings as a man which I should be chary of wounding.” Lowell adds: “I think that I shall be hardest pushed for good stories (imaginative ones) &if you are inspired to anything of the kind I should be glad to get it.” Although the magazine is already in press, “anything sent ‘right away’ will be in season for the first number,” in which Lowell would like to have a contribution by Poe. Lowell offers his correspondent “$10 for every article at first”; if the magazine succeeds, he will be more generous. “If the magazine fail, I shall consider myself personally responsible to all my contributors.”

NOTE: Works, XV, 120-21. Poe's scathing critique of Rufus Dawes, a Baltimore poetaster, had appeared in Graham's Magazine for October (see the chronology). The first number of The Pioneer, issued in January, 1843, was to contain “The Tell-Tale Heart” (see Lowell's December 17 letter to Poe).

NOVEMBER 21: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, reports that the rumored “solution” of the Mary Rogers case has been exposed as a hoax:

THE MURDER OF MARY ROGERS. — Most of our city papers contained on Saturday last an article copied from the New York Tribune, detailing certain revelations of an indelicate kind, said to have been made by the woman Loss, at Hoboken, N.Y. [N.J.] which explained all the minutiae of the death,&c., of Mary Rogers. The substance of -the revelations was, that Mrs. Loss, who kept the little house so often mentioned as near the spot of the supposed murder, being near her death, [page 474:] sent the other day for a magistrate, and confessed that Miss Rogers came to her house with a young physician, for certain purposes — that her death ensued-that her body was sunk in the river, and her clothes scattered through the woods by Mrs. L's son,&c.&c.

We thought the statement a hoax, and did not publish it. Our conjecture was near the truth, for Justice Merritt, of New York, to whom the account stated Mrs. Loss had divulged all this, has since published in the N.Y. Courier and Inquirer, the following card:


I noticed a statement in the Tribune of this morning relative to a confession said to have been made before me by the late Mrs. Loss, which is entirely incorrect, as no such examination took place, nor could it, from the deranged state of Mrs. Loss’ mind.

Respectfully, yours, GILBERT MERRITT.

Hoboken, Nov. 18, 1842

On Saturday last an examination was held before a magistrate. The sons of Mrs. Loss, and a number of other persons were examined on oath, but nothing was elicited tending in the least to throw any light on the death of Mary C. Rogers. The “great secret” which the boys said would come out on the death of Mrs. Loss, turned out to be a secret cure for the rheumatism! So that humbug is over. We don’t believe that Mary Rogers is dead at all! and we think that Mr. Crommelin could, if necessary, point out her resting place.

NOTE: Poe would have been relieved by The Spirit's report. According to John Walsh, Poe the Detective, pp. 69-73, when he included “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” in the 1845 edition of his Tales, he nevertheless made “fifteen small, almost undetectable changes in the story, all of which definitely accommodate the possibility of an abortion death.” The “Mr. Crommelin” mentioned by The Spirit was Alfred Crommeline, one of the men who discovered the body of Mary Rogers. [page 475:]

NOVEMBER 22: Rufus W. Griswold, in Philadelphia, writes James Fenimore Cooper, discussing his correspondent's story “The Autobiography of a Pocket Handkerchief,” which is being published by Graham's Magazine. Griswold mentions the recent death of his wife Caroline:

You may remember that you accompanied me while last in the city on a walk in search of a dwelling house. I was weary of living alone, and anxious to remove my family to Philadelphia. I subsequently succeeded in finding a place that suited me, but I have now no use for it. On the 7th [6th] instant I left my wife in the enjoyment of health — on the 9th I was summoned by a messenger to her funeral. God help me — she was my all in the world.

NOTE: MS, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. The MS of the present letter is bordered in black; additional evidence of Griswold's prolonged grief over his wife's death is entered in the chronology for circa December 21, 1842.

NOVEMBER 24: Lambert A. Wilmer is found innocent of any wrongdoing in connection with the charge of forgery brought against G. W. Veasey, his former partner on the Evening Express. Wilmer is “discharged by the Recorder, from the charge of conspiracy preferred against him.”

NOTE: The legal proceedings were reported by The Spirit of the Times, November 25, p. 2, cols. 2, 4. According to Wilmer's own account in Our Press Gang, pp. 42-44, he had held an “editorial engagement” for “several months” under M. Hardin Andrews, publisher of the Evening Express, which was then the “Philadelphia organ of Tylerism”; Andrews, upon discovering that “Tylerism was unprofitable freight,” offered to dispose of “‘all his right and title in and to the establishment for eight hundred dollars.” Wilmer and a young acquaintance, G. W. Veasey, agreed to purchase [page 476:] the Express. Veasey “gave Andrews his note for $500, with the endorsement of a well-known and responsible man, who resided somewhere in the neighborhood of Baltimore”; Wilmer provided “notes for the balance of $300.” In Our Press Gang Wilmer recorded his discovery that young Veasey had been guilty of “a preposterous trick”:

About a week after I and my new partner took possession of the business, it was discovered that the endorsement on Mr. V ——'s note was a forgery! My partner was arrested on this charge and bound over for trial, and Mr. Andrews came to me and demanded a restitution of the printing-office, subscription books, etc. I agreed to restore the property to him, provided he would return the notes for 300, which I had given him at the time of the purchase. He could not return these notes, for he had traded them away. I was liable for the payment of these notes when they came to maturity, and I refused to surrender the printing materials, etc., to Andrews while I was still under obligations to pay a considerable part of that sum for which this property had been sold to me and my partner.

Wilmer thus became the “sole proprietor” of the Express, but only for several days, because the paper promptly ceased publication (see the chronology for December 9, 10, 1842).

NOVEMBER 27: Charles Dickens writes Poe:

London, 1 Devonshire Terrace,

York Gate, Regent's Park,

November 27, 1842.

Dear Sir,

By some strange accident (I presume it must have been through some mistake on the part of Mr. Putnam in the great quantity of business he had to arrange for me), I have never been able to find among my papers, since I came to England, the letter you wrote to me at New York. But I read it there, and think I am correct in believing that it charged me with no other mission than that which you had already entrusted to me by word of mouth. Believe me that it never, for a moment, [page 477:] escaped my recollection; and that I have done all in my power to bring it to a successful issue — I regret to say, in vain.

I should have forwarded you the accompanying letter from Mr. Moxon before now, but that I have delayed doing so in the hope that some other channel for the publication of [y]our book on this side of the water would present itself to me. I am, however, unable to report any success. I have mentioned it to publishers with whom I have influence, but they have, one and all, declined the venture. And the only consolation I can give you is that I do not believe any collection of detached pieces by an unknown writer, even though he were an Englishman, would be at all likely to find a publisher in this metropolis just now.

Do not for a moment suppose that I have ever thought of you but with a pleasant recollection; and that I am not at all times prepared to forward your views in this country if I can.

Faithfully yours,

Charles Dickens.

NOTE: The Letters of Charles Dickens, III, 384-85. George Washington Putnam, a young American painter, served as Dickens’ private secretary during his 1842 visit to the United States. For information on the enclosed letter from Edward Moxon, a London publisher, see the chronology for November 17 and post November 17, 1842. The editors of The Letters, III, 385, suggest that Poe wished to publish an English edition of his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque; it seems more likely that he wished to issue a revised edition, which would include those stories he had written since these two volumes appeared (see the chronology for August 13 and 16, 1841, and circa June 25, 1842). Almost twenty years after Dickens sent this letter to Poe, he discussed his unsuccessful “mission” in a February 28, 1862, letter to James McCarroll, which is printed in part by Gerald G. Grubb, “The Personal and Literary Relationships of Dickens and Poe,” 22.: [page 478:]

My influence with publishers, such as it is, is wholly personal and does not extend beyond my own productions. I never in my life succeeded in inducing any publisher to accept a book on my recommendation. To the best of my remembrance, the last trial I made in this wise, was in behalf of Mr. Edgar Poe, then only known in the United States. It failed, and I have for many years relinquished the ungracious office, in which I always fared so ill. (At least ten years passed, in the instance I have mentioned, before Mr. Poe's tales were republished in England, by another bookseller.)

NOVEMBER 27: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia, expressing sympathy for his correspondent in the recent death of his wife: “I know from experience how unavailing are consolations from without, in such moments of anguish. I can only say to you, that I feel for you very sincerely, though silently. I have tasted the same cup, and remember its bitterness.” If the manuscript of The Spanish Student has not been destroyed, Longfellow would like it returned, as he now intends “to publish it in a volume.” He discusses a business agreement he would be willing to conclude with the proprietor of Graham's Magazine: “If Mr. Graham will give me $50 for every article I send him; I will agree to write for no other Magazine than his; this agreement to cease whenever either party gives notice to that effect.”

NOTE: The Letters of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, II, 479. Longfellow was then a widower, his first wife Mary Potter having died several years previously. Only Longfellow and William Cullen Bryant were able to command fifty dollars a poem from George R. Graham. Early in 1844 James Russell Lowell wrote the proprietor of Graham's Magazine to request an equal payment for his contributions. In his May 17, 1844, letter to LowelI (MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University), Charles J. Peterson replied on Graham's behalf: [page 479:] “He says he understood that he had closed an arrangement with you for a poem each month at $20.00 . ... . He desires me to add that the $20.00 is the highest price he has ever paid regularly for poems, since Longfellow &Bryant only contribute occassionally [sic ]; nor could Graham afford their prices but for their old standing in the literary world &the rarity of their contributions. ... . It is more than any magazine can afford, to pay $50.00 monthly for a poem.” Peterson stated that Graham had authorized him to offer Lowell “$25.00 monthly.”

December, 1842

DECEMBER: Snowden's Ladies’ Companion publishes the second installment of “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

DECEMBER: Graham's Magazine (Vol. 21, p. 342) notices the third edition of Rufus W. Griswold's anthology The Poets and Poetry of America: “We believe that no other book of so expensive a character has passed to a second edition in the United States during the year. The fact that this has reached a third edition in six months seems to indicate that our poetical literature is properly appreciated, in our own country, at least. The price of the third edition has very properly been reduced to two dollars and a half.”

EARLY DECEMBER [?]: Poe writes the editor or the publishers of the Boston Miscellany, enclosing his story “The Tell-Tale Heart” for possible publication in that journal.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from James Russell Lowell's December 17 letter to Poe. [page 480:]

DECEMBER 7: Thomas Holley Chivers, now in Augusta, Georgia, writes Poe, giving his reactions to the death of his three-year old daughter:

Now my hope is dead — the beautiful saintly winged dove which soared so high from the earth — luring my impatient soul to wander, delighted, from prospect to prospect — has been wounded in her midway flight to heaven by the keen icy arrows of Death! My antisipations [sic ] are sorrowful — every thing in the round world is dark to me! The little tender inocent [sic ] blue-eyed daughter of my heart — the soul of my own soul — the life of my own life —”my joy, my food, my-all — the world” — is dead!

Never can I see another day of peace on earth! She was so healthy, so happy, so inocent, and so beautiful, that I did not believe that she could die. She was sick only two days — sick when I was not near to render her assistence! My God! there is a darkness gathering round [my] soul of the deepest sorrow, which the light of no future joy can ever illumine! No, the very joys of others make my sorrows more intolerable! Why did man come into the world to see so much sorrow? Why should he be the father of those who are to live only long enough to be interesting to him, and then to lose them? My little daughter of three years old — my blue eyed child — is gone! . ...

Chivers interrupts his lengthy elegy only once, to inquire about Poe's magazine project:

What have you done with the “Penn Magazine?” When I received your last letter in regard to it, my little blue-eyed daughter sat upon my knee and smiled in my face while I read it. To read your letters, with my little child sitting on my knee, in regard to an enterprise in which we were to be partners, filled my heart with joyful antisipations. When I lay her tender body in the earth, I will then plant flowers upon her grave — such flowers as she loved — for she loved flowers beyond any child I ever knew — flowers that [w]ill last through all the winter. Why may I not hope [t]hat her soul will come to me again? [page 481:]

NOTE: Works of Chivers: The Correspondence, pp. 19-21. The editors, p. 21, note that Allegra Florence Chivers was born on June 12, 1839, and died on October 18, 1842. Apparently, she had not yet been buried at the time of the present letter. The editors state that “The story is still told in Washington, Ga., that Chivers kept the body of the child in alcohol for some time before burial.”

DECEMBER 9: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, reports that the Evening Express has “vanished from newspaper existence” and that “a new paper to be called the ‘Mercury’” will soon replace it.

DECEMBER 10: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, notices the first number of the Evening Mercury. This new paper will begin regular publication on Monday, December 12.

NOTE: In Our Press Gang, pp. 44-46, Lambert A. Wilmer stated that he disposed of the Evening Express to two young printers, Severn and Magill: “The new publishers changed the name of the paper to the Evening Mercury, and I was still retained as ‘the literary and miscellaneous editor.”’ The paper continued to be the Tyler organ in Philadelphia:”The political department was superintended by Francis J. Grund, who held a fat office in the Custom-House, and was, therefore, bound in honor and conscience to do all he could for the benefit of the administration and its newspaper organ.” Wilmer remained on the staff of the Evening Mercury until the paper changed its name and its political principles after the Presidential election of 1844.

DECEMBER 10: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, [page 482:] notices the first number of another new paper: “The ‘Philadelphia Saturday Museum,’ is the title of a new weekly newspaper, just started in this city, by the enterprising T. C. Clarke. It looks well. Handsome premiums are offered in it, for original tales and poetry-will the premiums be paid. Eh?”

NOTE: The first issue would have been dated Saturday, December 10. Thomas Cottrell Clarke, the editor of the Saturday Museum, had been born in Newport, Rhode Island, on January 11, 1801; he settled in Philadelphia in 1820. In the following year Clarke became the original editor of the Saturday Evening Post; he remained with the Post until 1826. He subsequently edited several Philadelphia journals, including the popular Saturday Courier. Clarke was one of Poe's closest associates; by the time the Museum commenced publication, the two men had probably reached an agreement to issue The Stylus, a monthly magazine of high literary quality which was to be edited by Poe and financed by Clarke (see the chronology for January 31, February 25, and

March 4, 1843).

ANTE DECEMBER 12: James Russell Lowell obtains Poe's story “The Tell-Tale Heart” for the first number of The Pioneer after it is rejected by Henry T. Tuckerman, the new editor of the Boston Miscellany.

NOTE: This entry is suggested by the fact that on December 12 Lowell wrote Charles J. Peterson asking him to pay Poe for a contribution to The Pioneer. For additional information, see the chronology for December 12, 15, ante December 17, December 17, and December 25.

DECEMBER 12: James Russell Lowell writes Charles J. [page 483:] Peterson, discussing the difficulties he is encountering in issuing the first number of The Pioneer, and asking his correspondent to recommend a periodical agent to distribute the magazine in Philadelphia. Lowell is due to receive payment for a poem; he asks Peterson to give this money to Poe instead, as payment for a contribution to The Pioneer.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Peterson's December 15 reply.

DECEMBER 15: Charles J. Peterson, in Philadelphia, replies to a December 12 letter from James Russell Lowell: “We have two agents here of merit, each in his way. Drew &Scammel act for the Miscellany, and confine themselves to works of merit. Burgess &Zieber deal in newspapers, &shilling novels as well as magazines; but they have most energy, and I think you will find it to your interest to employ them.” Peterson agrees to pay Poe with the money owed for Lowell's contribution: “As soon as your poem is in print I will pay Poe and take the receipt as you wish.” Peterson sympathizes with his friend in the difficulties he is encountering in issuing The Pioneer: “I can well understand how you have been harassed by a hundred little things in getting out your first number. Such an undertaking was never completed without daily mistakes, disappointments, and accidents sufficient to drive all correspondence out of the head. Had Job been a magazine publisher he would never have foiled Satan, for he would have lost his patience at once.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Presumably, Lowell was due payment for a contribution to Graham's Magazine, and he wished this sum to be given to Poe as payment for “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In his February 4, 1843, [page 484:] letter to Lowell, Poe wrote: “I duly received, from Mr Graham, $10 on your account . ... .”

ANTE DECEMBER 17 [?]: Bradbury &Soden, publishers of the Boston Miscellany, write Poe, declining to publish “The Tell-Tale Heart” in their monthly.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from James Russell Lowell's December 17 letter to Poe and from Poe's December 25 letter to him. Bradbury &Soden had probably written Poe before Lowell did on December 17; their letter was mentioned in Poe's December 25 reply to Lowell. In his letter Poe suggested that Henry T. Tuckerman, editor of the Miscellany, had dictated Bradbury &Soden's comments: “He [Tuckerman] writes, through his publishers, —’if Mr Poe would condescend to furnish more quiet articles he would be a most desirable correspondent.’” Possibly Bradbury &Soden also informed Poe that they had given “The Tell-Tale Heart” to Lowell for publication in The Pioneer.

DECEMBER 17: James Russell Lowell, in Boston, writes Poe:

I ought to have written to you before, but I have had so much to distract me, &so much to make me sick of pen &ink I could not. Your story of “The Tell-Tale Heart” will appear in my first number. Mr. Tuckerman (perhaps your chapter on Autographs is to blame) would not print it in the Miscellany, &I was very glad to get it for myself. It may argue presumptuousness in me to dissent from his verdict. I should be glad to hear from you soon. You must send me another article, as my second number will soon go to press.

NOTE: Works, XVII, 125. Henry Theodore Tuckerman was discussed in the December, 1841, installment of “Autography”: “He is a correct writer so far as mere English is concerned, but an insufferably tedious and dull one.” [page 485:]

DECEMBER 20: Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney, in Hartford, Connecticut, writes George R. Graham, thanking him for sending copies of Graham's Magazine and praising the excellence of his periodical: “This excellence, will I have no doubt, be ably sustained, by Mr Griswold, who I understand is your Editor, and who has given to the public in various departments, decided evidence of superior talent.” Mrs. Sigourney adds: “A proposition was made me some time since, to become a regular contributor to your periodical, which it is now more in my power to comply with, than at that period. If it is therefore, still desired, have the goodness to state your terms . ...

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. On November 16, 1841, Poe, acting on Graham's behalf, had written Mrs. Sigourney, inviting her to contribute an article each month. Like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, she revealed a greater willingness to contribute to Graham's Magazine when Griswold's name, rather than Poe's, appeared on its covers. For additional information on Graham's attempts to enlist these two popular poets as regular contributors, see the chronology for May 3, 19, November 10, 16, 1841, and July 16, and November 27, 1842.

CIRCA DECEMBER 21: Rufus W. Griswold leaves Philadelphia and returns to New York City. He visits a vault outside the city which contains the body of his wife.

NOTE: Caroline Searles Griswold had died on November 9 (see the chronology). According to Bayless, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, p. 66, Griswold returned to New York some forty days after his wife's funeral, which was held on November 11, 1842. Bayless quotes his own description of this journey from his March 6, 1843, letter to Richard [page 486:] Henry Dana, Sr.:

I could not think that my dear wife was dead. I dreamed night after night of our reunion. In a fit of madness I went to New York. The vault where she is sleeping is nine miles from the city. I went to it: the sexton unclosed it: and I went down alone into that silent chamber. I kneeled by her side and prayed, and then, with my own hand, unfastened the coffin lid, turned aside the drapery that hid her face, and saw the terrible changes made by Death and Time. I kissed for the last time her cold black forehead — I cut off locks of her beautiful hair, damp with the death dews, and sunk down in-senseless agony beside the ruin of all that was dearest in the world. In the evening, a friend from the city, who had learned where I was gone, found me there, my face still resting on her own, and my body as lifeless and cold as that before me.

DECEMBER 25: Poe replies to James Russell Lowell's December 17 letter, thanking his correspondent for “reversing the judgment” of Henry T. Tuckerman. Had Poe known that Tuckerman had become editor of the Boston Miscellany, he would not have sent a contribution: “Should he, at any time, accept an effusion of mine, I should ask myself what twattle I had been perpetrating, so flat as to come within the scope of his approbation.” Tuckerman's poem “Spirit of Poesy” has been inaccurately titled, “since no spirit appears.” Poe is anxious to see the first number of The Pioneer; he is enclosing “a brief poem” for the second.

NOTE: Letters, I, 220. Tuckerman's “The Spirit of Poetry” appeared in Graham's Magazine, 22 (January and February, 1843), 18-20, 65-67. The poem Poe enclosed was probably “Lenore,” which appeared in the February, 1843, number of The Pioneer.

DECEMBER 27: Poe sends James Russell Lowell a brief [page 487:] letter, in which he proposes a minor change to the verses sent “some days since.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 221. Ostrom notes that the lines discussed occur in the fourth stanza of “Lenore,” as published in the February Pioneer.





[S:0 - PIP, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (D. R. Thomas) (Chapter 06, Part 02)