Text: Dwight R. Thomas, “Chapter 07: [Part I: Jan-June] 1843,” Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (1978), pp. 488-581


[page 488:]



January, 1843

JANUARY: The first number of The Pioneer contains “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

NOTE: Poe's tale seems to have been immediately popular; it was reprinted by at least two Philadelphia newspapers — by the United States Gazette, January 6, p. 1, cols. 6-7, and by the Dollar Newspaper on January 25 (see the chronology). Two contemporary reactions to “The Tell-Tale Heart” are entered in the chronology for January 7, 13, 1843.

JANUARY: Poe reviews the first number of The Pioneer for the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, Thomas C. Clarke's new weekly newspaper:

In these days of self-bepuffed and glorified magazines, it is positively refreshing to look upon a publication that comes to us modestly, promising nothing, but wearing on its face the stamp of intrinsic merit. We hail the PIONEER as the first in the great work of reform. But how could it be otherwise, edited as it is by a man whose genius and originality is at once the praise and wonder of his countrymen. We mean JAMES RUSSEL[L] LOWELL.

The Pioneer is large, printed on fair paper with new type, and contains 48 pages of reading matter, and is embellished with two chaste and elegant engravings- “Circe going to meet Ulysses” and “Two hundred years ago.” The last is indeed a gem.

The contributors are J. Russell Lowell, (”a man of men!”)[,] Edgar Allan Poe, John Neal, who contributes [page 489:] an excellent article on Aaron Burr, with others whose names are known and respected by all true lovers of sound literature. The Reviews are good and just, with the sole exception of one, on Matthews’ [sic ] “Puffer Hopkins,” a qualified puff when it should have been an unqualified condemnation: “Puffer Hopkins” being one of the most trashy novels that ever emanated from an American press.

We bid Mr. Lowell, “God speed in the good cause,” and cordially recommend the PIONEER to every sensible reader.

NOTE: With his March 27, 1843, letter to James Russell Lowell, Poe forwarded a copy of the Saturday Museum containing an article in which he had praised The Pioneer. No copies of the Museum for January and February, 1843, seem to be available; but the weekly's review of the January number of The Pioneer was reprinted on the inside back wrapper of the February number, which is preserved in a bound volume of Lowell's monthly held by the New York Public Library. This review has been attributed to Poe by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “A Review of Lowell's Magazine,” Notes and Queries, 178 (June 29, 1940), 457-58. Poe's disdain for the literary productions of Cornelius Mathews is evidenced by his present remarks on The Career of Puffer Hopkins (1842) and by his blistering review of this New Yorker's epic poem Wakondah in the February, 1842, number of Graham's Magazine.

JANUARY: Graham's Magazine publishes Poe's poem “The Conqueror Worm.”

EARLY JANUARY [?]: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas. Poe is to be included in the Saturday Museum's forthcoming series on “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia,” which is to furnish the biography and the poems of each of the city's noteworthy poets. He encloses memoranda of his life, and he asks his correspondent to write his biography for the Museum.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Thomas’ February 1 letter to Poe and from Poe's February 25 letter to him. Thomas’ letter leaves the impression that Poe had forwarded his biographical memoranda some weeks before February 1. Information on the Museum's series on Philadelphia poets may be found in the chronology for February 18, 1843.

JANUARY 4: The Philadelphia Irish Citizen commences publication.

NOTE: The North American, January 5, p. 2, col. 1, reported: “THE IRISH CITIZEN. — The first number of a paper with this title was issued yesterday, in this city. It is to be devoted to the cause of Repeal in Ireland, and of Democracy here. — Benj. Pemberton Binns is the editor.” No copy of the Irish Citizen is known to survive; this weekly is of interest because it was subsequently edited by Thomas Dunn English, who used it as a vehicle to satirize Poe (see the chronology for January 10, 31, 1844).

JANUARY 5: Horace Greeley, in New York City, writes Rufus W. Griswold in Philadelphia:

Today I met at dinner at our house Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, a lady of your sometime acquaintance, and learned from her, (by getting up a sham-fight with her in regard to your merits and starting her temper a little,) that she is very intimately apprised of the internal politics of your office by some good friend in Philadelphia. I learned from her not only that you were to leave for Europe in March, but that Graham would edit the Magazine himself after that time, but she evidently anticipates having her finger very prominently inserted in one corner of it. All this is none of your business nor mine; I know you will have [page 491:] too much sense to say any thing to Graham about it; and if any letter is written to Philadelphia relative to my criticisms on Graham, Peterson, Weld,&c, you simply know nothing of the matter. I was only “curious to know” like Paul Pry, how much this lady knew of your business, and how she came to know it. I was satisfied. After you have gone, I will help Mr. Graham to see the difference in his circulation between your editing and his. Say nothing.

NOTE: MS, Library of Congress. Mrs. Stephens was never to play an important role on Graham's Magazine, but she soon became the editor of Charles J. Peterson's Lady's World of Fashion (see the chronology for February 11, 1843). Mrs. Stephens detailed her objections to Griswold in her April 27, 1843, letter to Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney. Griswold did not go to Europe in March; he was not to resign from Graham's Magazine until shortly before August 16, 1843 (see the chronology). Horatio Hastings Weld was the editor of the Saturday Evening Post (see Peterson's November 11, 1842, letter to John Tomlin).

JANUARY 7: In the Brother Jonathan (Vol. 4, p. 15), Nathaniel P. Willis reviews the January number of The Pioneer:

J. R. Lowell, a man of original and decided genius has started a monthly magazine in Boston. The first number lies before us, and it justifies our expectation, viz.: — that a man of genius, who is merely a man of genius, is a very unfit editor of a periodical. A man of taste and common sense (we are using all these words in their common acceptation) is worth twenty men of genius for any such undertaking. In the first No. of the Pioneer are half a dozen articles which will fall still-born under the notice of the nineteen in twenty of the readers who pay for what they read, yet they are articles of a very refined and elevated character and will do the magazine credit with here and there a man of very refined taste — for example Mr. Dwight's article on Beethoven's Symphonies and Mr. Lowell's own paper on the “Plays of Middleton.” [page 492:] Mr. Poe's contribution is very wild and very readable, and that is the only thing in the number that most people would read and remember. We record all this disparagement with as much regret as sincerity, for we admire exceedingly the novel and spiritual character of the editor's own productions.

NOTE: Willis was the editor of the Brother Jonathan; this review, which was attributed to him on the inside back wrapper of The Pioneer for February, does much to explain why Lowell's periodical expired with its third number, in March, 1843. Poe's contribution to the first number was “The Tell-Tale Heart”; John S. Dwight (1813-1893), an early member of the Transcendentalist movement, was a noted music critic.

JANUARY 7: The Citizen Soldier, a new Philadelphia paper, commences publication.

NOTE: This newspaper was published every two weeks until May 3, 1843, when it became a weekly. The Citizen Soldier is of interest to Poe scholars because George Lippard was its foremost contributor; according to De Grazia, “George Lippard,” p. 74, this young journalist became the paper's “chief editor” in the middle of July, 1843. The May 31 issue contained the first installment of “The Spermaceti Papers,” Lippard's satire on George R. Graham &Co. The Bucks County Historical Society in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, holds a complete file of The Citizen Soldier from January 7, 1843, through May 29, 1844.

JANUARY 8: George R. Graham, in Philadelphia, writes Frances Sargent Osgood, discussing his career as the publisher of Graham's Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post:

I sometimes wish that I had gone on quietly in my little law office, using my pen modestly as a writer for a few more years, instead of embarking, on the [page 493:] stormy sea of publishing, heart and — I sometimes fear — Soul. I do not expect I should have made much more in the world, either as a lawyer, or a writer,-certainly I should not as both — for I had a happy faculty of shoving off the responsibilities of one onto the shoulders of the other, but I fancy, I should have had more moments of delight than can be possibly stolen from the bustle of an active and successful business life. Do you know, that among my forty thousand readers, there are but few, and among several score of agents, there are none, who do not think a publisher bound to answer all their impertinence, as well as to furnish them books for their money?

If you should see me, with from 30 to 40 business letters daily, on an average, before me to read and answer, you would not only understand the necessity of my turning over all proper correspondence to others, but would pity as well as forgive me.

In a postscript Graham adds: “I shall be happy to receive stories at $25., and poetry at $10. per article, one or the other monthly.”

NOTE: Passages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. Griswold, p. 134. Graham had gained admission to the Philadelphia bar on March 27, 1839; he soon placed some of his editorial burdens upon the shoulders of a new partner, Samuel D. Patterson (see the chronology for March 3, 1843). Mrs. Osgood (1811-1850), a prolific poetess living in New York City, was a frequent contributor to Graham's Magazine; she became intimate with Poe and his family during their later residence in New York.

JANUARY 13: In reviewing the January number of The Pioneer for his New-York Daily Tribune, p. 1, col. 1, Horace Greeley comments on “The Tell-Tale Heart”: “POE contributes [to this number] a strong and skilful, but to our minds overstrained and repulsive, analysis of the feelings and promptings of an insane homicide. The painting of the [page 494:] terror of the victim while he sat upright in his bed feeling that death was near him is most powerful and fearfully vivid.”

NOTE: Poe attributed this commentary to Greeley in the Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, p . 1, col. 4.

JANUARY 23: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 3, the North American, p. 2, col. 2, and other Philadelphia newspapers report the death of Thomas Willis White, the proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger, in Richmond, on the morning of January 19.

NOTE: After White's death Poe attempted to acquire the subscription list of the Messenger for his forthcoming magazine, The Stylus (see the chronology for March 24, April, and April 22, 1843).

JANUARY 25: The Dollar Newspaper commences publication.

NOTE: This Philadelphia weekly is remembered because its issues for June 21 and 28, 1843, contained the first printing of “The Gold-Bug.” The paper was published by A. H. Simmons &Co., the same firm that controlled the Public Ledger and the Baltimore Sun, and edited by Joseph Sailer, who wrote the Ledger's financial columns. Like the Saturday Evening Post, the Saturday Courier, and the Saturday Museum, the Dollar Newspaper was a “family newspaper” aimed at a popular audience of high morality and of limited literary sophistication. Its distinguishing features were that it was issued on Wednesday, rather than on Saturday, and that it cost only a dollar per year, while its competitors cost two dollars. The date of the first issue is established by brief reviews appearing in The Spirit of the Times, January 26, p. 2, col. 5, the Public [page 495:] Ledger, January 26, p. 2, col. 3, and other Philadelphia papers. No copy of the Dollar Newspaper for 1843 seems to be presently available. Several previous scholars had access to a file of the weekly from 1843 through 1845 which was formerly held by the Maryland Historical Society, but which has since been misplaced; the issues of the Dollar Newspaper connected with Poe have been discussed by Phillips, Poe, I, 790-94, by Heartman and Canny, pp. 18081, and by Killis Campbell, “Gleanings in the Bibliography of Poe,” Modern Language Notes, 32 (1917), 267-72. According to Campbell, 268, n. 2, “The Tell-Tale Heart” was reprinted in the January 25, 1843, issue.

JANUARY 27: An advertisement appearing in the Daily Chronicle, p. 2, col. 6, informs Philadelphians that “THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA, is critically and thoroughly examined in the SATURDAY MUSEUM of this week.”

NOTE: A vitriolic criticism of Rufus W. Griswold's anthology appeared in the January 28 issue of the Museum. The advertisement calling attention to this article also appeared in the January 27 issues of the National Forum, p. 2, col. 5, and the Public Ledger, p. 3, col. 1.

JANUARY 28: In the Saturday Museum Henry B. Hirst reviews the third edition of Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America at great length. He begins his critique by describing Griswold's career as the editor of various journals; he finds that the anthologist possesses “some talents . ... but . ... only those of a mediocre character.” Griswold's critical judgments are “worthless” because of “his want of taste” and “his egotism and petty envy.” Hirst next examines Griswold's claim to be a poet. He subjects the anthologist's poem “The Sunset Storm” to an [page 496:] intensive metrical analysis, and he concludes that its author “never was able to understand the first principles of versification.” Hirst vauntingly displays his own knowledge of versification; he quotes the Roman poets Ovid, Virgil, and Lucretius to illustrate “the use of Spondees in Latin Hexameter.” Lastly, Hirst considers The Poets and Poetry of America; he asks Griswold to justify his treatment of two of Poe's friends: “Why was Robert Tyler, the author of Ahasuerus,&c., omitted? Why was Frederick W. Thomas insulted with a place as the author of one song, among the miscellaneous writers, after his having been written to, and ‘his biography and best articles’ solicited? Was it not because he did not obey your dictatorial and impertinent request to write for you the biography of Mrs. Welby?” Hirst ends his critique by condemning Griswold for neglecting the Philadelphia poets in his anthology: “And now that we are in our own city, has it no poets? Are Dr. Mitchell, C. West Thompson, and Catharine H. Esling only worthy to appear in one article in your contemptible appendix? Where is the Hon. Robert T. Conrad? You surely could not have forgotten him, for . ... he is the author of some of the finest poems known in American literature. Where is . ... Morton McMichael, Robert Morris (another sweet poet), the Rev. T. H. Stockton, and Dr. English? How came you to forget Mr. Spear, who was once placed by the [Saturday] Courier, if we remember aright, close to Shakspeare, and somewhere between Cowper and Goldsmith?”

NOTE: The Saturday Museum for January 28 does not seem to be presently available. William F. Gill transcribed Hirst's review, which was apparently unsigned, from Thomas C. Clarke's copy of the Museum for this date (see Phillips’ Poe, I, 782). Gill believed that Poe wrote the blistering criticism of Griswold; James A. Harrison accepted his [page 497:] attribution and reprinted this review in Poe's Works, XI, 220-43. At present there is no reason to question Thomas Ollive Mabbott's final judgment on the review's authorship: “I am now satisfied that this is by Hirst, although it may include a few things Poe had said” (see the Poems, p. 553, n. 1). Hirst was inordinately proud of his knowledge of English metrics and of his ability to scan Latin verse (see the chronology for January 5, 1842, and July 27, 1843, and see his entry in the directory). Of course, in his September 12, 1842, letter to Frederick William Thomas, Poe had suggested that Griswold relegated his friend to the appendix of The Poets and Poetry of America because he failed to supply “information touching Mrs Welby”; but Hirst would almost certainly have been familiar with Poe's account of this matter, because the two men were then constant companions (see the chronology for circa January 30-31, January 31, February l, 25, 1843). Poe would not have endorsed the Museum reviewer's unduly favorable assessment of such minor Philadelphia poets as Thomas Dunn English and Thomas G. Spear. At least one of the city's newspapers seems to have alluded to Hirst's authorship of this review (see the chronology for February 8, 1843), and there is reasonably conclusive evidence that Hirst contributed at least one other attack on Griswold to the Museum (see the chronology for March 4 and October 19, 1843). The third edition of The Poets and Poetry of America had been issued several months previously (see the chronology for December, 1842); but the probable reason that Thomas C. Clarke, the Museum's editor, published Hirst's damning criticism at this late date — over nine months after Griswold's anthology first appeared — was to advertise the weekly's forthcoming series on “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia,” which was to be commenced on February 18, [page 498:] 1843 (see the chronology).

CIRCA JANUARY 30-31: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas. He realizes that his friend has not written about the promised position in the Custom House because he was waiting “for some definite action of Congress on Smith's case.” In the near future Poe plans to settle this matter by a personal visit to Washington. He must soon provide the Saturday Museum with a sketch of his life for this weekly's forthcoming series on “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia.” If Thomas is unable to write the biography, Poe requests that the memoranda he had previously forwarded

be returned to him in order that some other author may be found for this task. Poe asks his correspondent whether he saw the savage review of Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America in the January 28 issue of the Saturday Museum. Poe admits that he was responsible for the comments on Thomas and Robert Tyler, but he emphasizes that Henry B. Hirst actually wrote the review. He signs himself: “In high spirits, / Yours truly, / E. A. Poe[.]”

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Thomas’ February 1 reply. There is no evidence that Thomas had sent an earlier response to Poe's November 19, 1842, letter: he delayed his answer in the hope that Thomas S. Smith would not be confirmed as Collector of Customs in Philadelphia and that his replacement would be more willing to give Poe a situation. The Senate did not act upon Smith's appointment until March 3, 1843. Poe seems to have written Thomas earlier in the month, enclosing memoranda of his life and asking his friend to write his biography for the Museum's forthcoming series on the Philadelphia poets (see the chronology for early January and February 18, 1843). This reconstruction of Poe's remarks on the Museum's review [page 499:] of Rufus W. Griswold was first suggested by Gravely, “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 337-39.

JANUARY 31: Felix O. C. Darley, a young Philadelphia artist, agrees to provide illustrations for The Stylus, a quality periodical soon to be started by Thomas C. Clarke and Edgar Allan Poe. A binding contract is signed by Darley, Clarke, and Poe as principals, and by Henry B. Hirst and W. D. Riebsam as witnesses.

NOTE: William F. Gill included a facsimile of the contract in his Life of Edgar Allan Poe, after p. 118; James A. Harrison reprinted the text in the Works, XVII, 126-27. This document provides the first evidence of an agreement between Clarke and Poe to issue The Stylus; Poe discussed their arrangement in his February 25 letter to Frederick William Thomas, and the Saturday Museum of March 4 carried a prospectus for the new magazine. The January 31 document is not, however, an agreement between Clarke and Poe, but a contract between Darley “on the one hand” and Clarke and Poe “on the other”; it was apparently only one of several “articles of copartnership” described as “signed &sealed for some weeks” in Poe's February 25 letter. Presumably, Clarke and Poe had reached an understanding on the proposed magazine prior to January 31.

February, 1843

FEBRUARY: Snowden's Ladies’ Companion publishes the third and final installment of “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

NOTE: In reviewing the Ladies’ Companion for the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, February 11, p. 2, col. 7, Joseph Evans [page 500:] Snodgrass commented: “Mr. Poe's ‘Mystery of Marie Rogêt,’ founded on the murder of Mary Rogers, is concluded — and will add to his reputation for a sui generis play of imagination with an exercise of rare powers of analysis.”

FEBRUARY: The Pioneer publishes Poe's poem “Lenore.”

FEBRUARY: The Pioneer (Vol. l, pp. 49-55) publishes Nathaniel Hawthorne's “The Hall of Fantasy,” in which this author records his opinions of his contemporaries. He describes Poe's standing with the other literati whom he has placed in the Hall of Fantasy: “Mr. Poe had gained ready admittance [into the Hall] for the sake of his imagination, but was threatened with ejectment [sic ], as belonging to the obnoxious class of critics.”

FEBRUARY 1: Frederick William Thomas replies to Poe's letter of circa January 30-31, which he has received today:’ “You judged rightly I did not write to you waiting ‘for some definite action of Congress on Smith's case.’ I feel most anxious in the matter for you, my friend.” Thomas approves of Poe's plan to visit the capital: “When you come to Washington stop at ‘Fuller's Hotel’ where you will find your friend . .’. .” Thomas has started to prepare a biographical sketch for the Saturday Museum from the memoranda his correspondent sent him some time previously, but he now believes that his official duties will prevent him from completing this task:

About the biography. I duly received your notes, and determined at the earliest hour to take it in hand. Congress is now, you know, in session, and my labors at the department are treble while it continues. Thrice I have set myself about writing out the notes and thrice I have been taken off. It would be a labor of love with me, Poe, as you know, and let who will do it now some [page 501:] of these days I will do it better unless they do it damned well. I could not do it until Congress adjourns, and not speedily then — I am so much occupied. Therefore [I] think it best to send you the MS. as you request, but I do it with regret .....

Thomas adds: “After all, perhaps, at the present writing, the notes for your biography will be better in the hands of some other person, for if I should take them in hand, and speak but a just appreciation of you, it would pass not for justice but the partiality of friendship.” He answers Poe's question: “Yes, I saw the'saturday's Museum’ in Mr. Robert Tyler's room, and happened to light upon the article in which we are mentioned. I read that portion of it to him and shall take care that he is not misinformed on the subject. I remember Mr. Hirst.” Thomas is intrigued by Poe's claim to be “In high spirits,” and he regrets that his friend did not explain his good fortune: “I assure you, Poe, that nothing gives me greater pleasure than to know that you are well and doing well.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 128-29. The Washington Directory for 1843, pp. 115, 122, lists Thomas as a clerk in the General Land Office at a salary of $1,150 per year; although his residence is not given, his present letter provides reasonably conclusive evidence that he lived at Fuller's Hotel. Thomas returned his correspondent's memoranda on this date or very shortly thereafter; the task of writing the first Poe biography was assigned to Henry B. Hirst, as Poe explained in his February 25 letter to Thomas. In his “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe,” quoted by Whitty, Poems, p. xlvii, Thomas provided additional information: “Poe sent me the notes for the Museum biography, but I evaded writing them. I told him afterwards that I knew more of his history than he had sent me. He was amused, and laughed the matter off by confessing that the story [biography] was [page 502:] intended to help the magazine project.” The prospect of commencing The Stylus would almost certainly have put Poe “In high spirits” (see the chronology for January 31 and February 25).

FEBRUARY 4: Poe writes James Russell Lowell: “For some weeks I have been daily proposing to write and congratulate you upon the triumphant début of the ‘Pioneer’, but have been prevented by a crowd of more worldly concerns.” He thanks Lowell for his “attention in forwarding the Magazine.” Poe gives his reasons for approving of The Pioneer:

As far as a $3 Magazine can please me at all, I am delighted with yours. I am especially gratified with what seems to me a certain coincidence of opinion &of taste, between yourself and your humble servant, in the minor arrangements, as well as in the more important details of the journal. For example — the poetry in the same type as the prose — the designs from Flaxman — &c. As regards the contributors our thoughts are one. Do you know that when, some time since, I dreamed of establishing a Magazine of my own, I said to myself —”If I can but succeed in engaging, as permanent contributors, Mr Hawthorne, Mr Neal, and two others, with a certain young poet of Boston, who shall be nameless, I will engage to produce the best journal in America.” At the same time, while I thought and still think highly of Mr Bryant, Mr Cooper, and others, I said nothing of them.

Poe has received ten dollars on Lowell's account from George R. Graham: “I would prefer, however, that you would remit directly to myself through the P. Office.” Recently, Poe saw “a poem without the author's name” at the office of Graham's Magazine, which he believes to be Lowell's work: “Its title I forget — but it slightly veiled a lovely Allegory in which ‘Religion’ was typified, and the whole painted the voyage of some wanderers &mourners in search of some far-off isle. Is it yours?” About two weeks previously, Poe sent his “Notes Upon English Verse” to Lowell “by [page 503:] Harnden's Express”; if the article proves “too long, or perhaps too dull,” for The Pioneer, he will be glad to “send something in its place.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 221-23. Illustrations for The Pioneer included several designs by the English artist, John Flaxman (1755-1826). The March number contained an article on Flaxman by William Wetmore Story. John Neal, like Hawthorne, contributed to Lowell's magazine. The ten dollars Poe received from Graham was presumably payment for “The Tell-Tale Heart” (see the chronology for ante December 12, December 12, 15, 1842). “Harnden's Express” was a privately operated delivery service which was both efficient and popular. The United States Gazette, June 6, 1840, p. 2, col. 1, spoke favorably of this agency: “After we had made up our foreign news, we received the latest English papers by Har[n]den's Express, the office of which in this city is at the southeast corner of Third and Market street[s].”

FEBRUARY 4: Henry B. Hirst is “admitted to practice as an Attorney at Law in the District Court, and in the Court of Common Pleas, for the City and County of Philadelphia.”

NOTE: Hirst's admission to the bar was reported by The Spirit of the Times, February 6, p. 2, col. 3. This date is also given by Martin's Bench and Bar, p. 278.

FEBRUARY 8: In reporting Hirst's admission to the Philadelphia bar, the Germantown Telegraph, p. 3, col. 1, comments briefly on his literary criticism:

HENRY B. HIRST, Esquire, has been admitted to practice in the city courts, as an attorney-at-law. The credit of the city is more seriously at stake than might be imagined, in maintaining the character of her bar, so long noted for its brilliance; and this [page 504:] accession of legal talent will be a guaranty that she is not likely for the present, to suffer in that respect.


* That “Review,” Henry, was a scorcher — regardless of those erroneous Greek and Latin quotations which those blundering compositors caused you to make.

NOTE: The Germantown Telegraph was almost certainly alluding to Hirst's vitriolic review of Rufus W. Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America, which appeared in the January 28 issue of the Saturday Museum. In his criticism he had quoted Latin verse by Lucretius, Ovid, and Virgil. Few Philadelphians looked upon Hirst with the same seriousness with which he regarded himself; the city's newspapers frequently found him a subject for satire.

FEBRUARY 10: Charles Fenno Hoffman replies to a letter from Rufus W. Griswold:

I am pained to have you write so about your health —”Death” as you say may be “no unwelcome friend of yours “ — But your living friends think so much more of you than he can that he has no claim upon our hospitality or good feeling. Death &you friends! The proposition's absurd — Think only of the Lives you have attempted, and the many more you will yet succeed in taking! — You are rivals man! and must keep as far aloof from each other as possible — Seriously though, you are just at the period of life when a man's constitution changes &if you fight the next 18 months through, with a stout heart you will live to be as burly as a Bishop and publish at 80 “Griswold's Recollections of his own time[.]”

In a postscript Hoffman adds: “Do send me that Museum[.] I had so much fun in laughing at the first one that I must see the Second.”

NOTE: Barnes, Charles Fenno Hoffman, pp. 227-30. In his postscript Hoffman may be alluding to Henry B. Hirst's [page 505:] review of The Poets and Poetry of America in the January 28 issue of the Saturday Museum; his comments suggest that the Museum may have published more than one attack on Griswold.

FEBRUARY 11: The Saturday Evening Post, p. 2, col. 5, reports that Charles J. Peterson has secured the services of Mrs. Ann S. Stephens as editor of his Lady's World of Fashion.

FEBRUARY 15: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, Col. 1, reports: “It was rumored yesterday evening that Mr. Smith had been confirmed as Collector of our Port, by the U. S. Senate.”

NOTE: This report would have disturbed Poe, who was anxiously waiting for the Senate to reject Thomas S. Smith's appointment.

ANTE FEBRUARY 16: Robert Carter writes Poe that James Russell Lowell is suffering from a serious eye ailment.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Poe's February 16 reply. Robert Carter was Lowell's partner on The Pioneer. According to Martin Duberman, James Russell Lowell, pp. 45-49, Lowell came down with “a serious eye disease” shortly after the first number of The Pioneer appeared; he then went to New York City, where he spent several months undergoing treatment. Carter edited the magazine during Lowell's absence.

FEBRUARY 16: Poe replies to Robert Carter, enclosing “the above trifle” for the fourth number of The Pioneer. Poe is grieved to hear of James Russell Lowell's illness, but he entertains a hope for his recovery: “Diseases of an [page 506:] opthalmic character, are, by no means, so intractable now, as they were a few years ago.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 223. Ostrom states that Poe's letter is written in “the lower third of page 1 of a folded leaf, the upper portion carrying a transcription of ‘Eulalie”’ (see the Letters, II, 502). This poem did not appear in The Pioneer, which expired with the third number; it was first published in the American Review for July, 1845.

CIRCA FEBRUARY 18: Poe writes Thomas Wyatt, who is now in Washington. He encloses a letter of introduction for Wyatt to present to Frederick William Thomas.

NOTE: Neither Poe's letter to Wyatt nor his enclosed letter of introduction to Thomas have been located; both are mentioned in Poe's February 25 letter to Thomas, where they are dated as “About a week since.”

FEBRUARY 18: The Saturday Museum publishes a biographical sketch of Dr. James McHenry, the city's oldest living poet, in “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia: No. I.”

NOTE: No copy of the Museum for February 18 is known to survive; the contents of this issue are described in the United States Gazette, February 17, p. 2, col. 3, and in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, February 25, p. 3, col. 2. The sketch of McHenry was the first of a series which was originally intended to include all the city's poets. Thomas C. Clarke's design was outlined in a lengthy advertisement for the Saturday Museum which appeared in The Citizen Soldier, 1 (May 3, 1843), 80:


There is now in preparation, for this paper, [page 507:] a series of beautifully engraved


of all the distinguished Poets of Philadelphia, including

Mrs. St. Leon Loud, Mrs. Harriet Muzzy, Miss Lambert, Miss Rand,&c. Dr. McHenry, Edgar A. Poe, Dr. J. K. Mitchell, Robert Morris, David Paul Brown, Rev. Dr. Bethune, Judge Conrad, Morton McMichael, T. S. Arthur, Rev. Thomas H. Stockton,&c.&c.

Making upwards of twenty Daugerrotype [sic ] Full Length Portraits, engraved from plates exquisitely finished in Daguerrotype [sic ] style, being the truest to nature. Each Portrait will be accompanied with an Autograph, a


of the writers; a critical notice of, and specimens from, the poems of each. This is an original feature, one never before introduced into a newspaper, and, notwithstanding the great expense attending it, the series may eventually be extended so as to embrace all the distinguished Poets and poetry of America. It is hoped this bold and admirable feature will be taken as an evidence of the teste [sic ], liberality, and enterprise of the Publishers, and of their full determination to render the


not only unsurpassed, but unequalled, as the first FAMILY NEWSPAPER of this country.

Clarke's ambitious project to furnish “upwards of twenty” Portraits and biographies was never completed; the Museum apparently discussed only five Philadelphia poets. Although there is no substantial file of the Museum for the first five months of 1843, the series on “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia” can be reconstructed from editorial notices found in several existing issues, and from reviews appearing in Joseph R. Chandler's United States Gazette, a daily newspaper which was sympathetic to Clarke's weekly and which faithfully commented on each number. The second poet included was Poe, whose biography and poems first appeared [page 508:] in the February 25 issue, although they were later reprinted in the March 4 issue. In the Saturday Museum, March 4, p. 2, col. 4, Clarke promised that the March 11 issue would contain “The portrait of our esteemed fellow citizen, Dr. J. K. Mitchel[l], constituting No. 3, of our popular Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia”; this third installment was favorably noticed by the United States Gazette, March 10, p. 2, col. 2. Robert T. Conrad was the fourth poet in the series; his biography and poems appeared in the March 25 issue; they were mentioned in the Museum, March 18, p. 2, col. 7, and in the Gazette, March 24, p. 2, col. 2. The Gazette reviewed the next eight issues of the Museum (April 1 through May 20) without reporting another installment of the series. In reviewing the May 27 issue, however, the Gazette, May 26, p. 2, col. 2, noticed “a portrait of brother Morris, of the Inquirer, accompanied by extracts from his poetical efforts.” Robert Morris, editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer, was apparently the fifth and final poet. Thomas C. Clarke may have realized that publishing “Full Length Portraits” and extended biographies of such minor figures as Mrs. Harriet Muzzy and Thomas H. Stockton would do little to improve the Museum's circulation.

FEBRUARY 25: The Saturday Museum publishes “The Poets &Poetry of Philadelphia, Number II: Edgar Allan Poe.”

NOTE: No copy of the Museum for this date has been located; detailed information on extant issues is given in the chronology for March 4, 1843. Poe's biography and poems occupied the entire front page of the Museum when they were reprinted in the March 4 issue. In his February 25 letter to Frederick William Thomas, Poe stated: “Herewith I forward a'saturday Museum’ containing a Biography and caricature, both of myself. I am ugly enough God knows, [page 509:] but not quite so bad as that.” He added: “On the outside of the paper you will see a Prospectus of ‘The Stylus’ — my old ‘Penn’ revived &remodelled under better auspices.” Poe's comment seems to indicate that the February 25 Museum carried the Prospectus of The Stylus, presumably on the fourth page; the Prospectus appeared on the third page of the March 4 issue. The February 25 issue was placed in circulation by Thursday, February 23, because it was favorably noticed by three Philadelphia newspapers on February 24. The United States Gazette, p. 2, col. 4, reported that “THE SATURDAY MUSEUM . ... for this week contains a well drawn likeness of Edgar A. Poe, Esq, to which is appended a biography, and liberal extracts from his works.” The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 3, found that the Museum contained “a long, able and interesting biographical sketch” of Poe as well as “some choice extracts” from his writings. In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, John S. Du Solle praised the Museum for its coverage of a significant author: “The Saturday Museum of this week contains a very fair likeness of our friend. Edgar A. Poe, Esq., with a full account of his truly eventful life. We look upon Mr. Poe as one of the most powerful, chaste, and erudite writers of the day, and it gives us pleasure to see him placed, through the public spirit of our neighbor of the Museum, in his proper position before the world.” On February 25 The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, Col. 5, stated that “‘THE PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY MUSEUM’ of to-day . ... contains the second of a series of articles on ‘The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia,’ giving a sketch of the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe, accompanied by a portrait.” Public response to the Museum's article on Poe was highly favorable; in the March 4 issue, p. 2, col. 4, Thomas C. Clarke reported that the demand for the February 25 issue exceeded the number of [page 510:] available copies. At least two journals outside of Philadelphia are known to have reprinted the biographical sketch. On April 29, 1843, the Boston Notion, then edited by Robert Carter, published “an abridgment” of the sketch; see Burton R. Pollin, “Poe and the Boston Notion,” 27. Joseph Evans Snodgrass reprinted the biography, but not the poems, in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, July 29, 1843, p. 1, cols. 3-6. Information on the poems published by the Museum may be found in Dudley Hutcherson's article on “The Philadelphia Saturday Museum Text of Poe's Poems,” American Literature, 5 (1933) 36-48.

FEBRUARY 25: Poe writes Frederick William Thomas, forwarding a copy of the Saturday Museum containing his biography and his portrait. He identifies his biographer as Henry B. Hirst of Philadelphia: “I put into his hands your package, as returned, and he has taken the liberty of stating his indebtedness for memoranda to yourself — a slight extension of the truth for which I pray you to excuse him. He is a warm friend of yours by the bye . ... .” On “the outside” of the Museum, Thomas will see a Prospectus of The Stylus; Poe discusses his agreement with Thomas C. Clarke to issue this journal: “I have managed, at last, to secure, I think., the great object — a partner possessing ample capital, and, at the same time, so little self-esteem, as to allow me entire control of the editorial conduct. He gives me, also, a half interest, and is to furnish funds for all the business operations — I agreeing to supply, for the first year, the literary matter. This will puzzle me no little, but I must do my best — write as much as possible myself, under my own name and pseudonyms, and hope for the casual aid of my friends, until the first stage of infancy is surpassed.” Although “The articles of copartnership have [page 511:] been signed &sealed for some weeks,” Poe has not written to inform Thomas of this magazine project in the hope of being able to send him, “at the same time, a specimen-sheet.” He explains: “Some little delay has occurred in getting it out, on account of paper. In the meantime all arrangements are progressing with spirit.” Poe asks his correspondent to aid him by securing contributions for The Stylus: “In the first place, I wish an article from yourself for my opening number — in the second, one from Mr Rob. Tyler — in the 3d one from Judge Upshur.” He stresses that a contribution from Judge Abel Parker Upshur would be especially valuable: “Judge Upshur wrote some things for ‘The Messenger’ during my editorship, and if I could get him interested in the scheme he might, by good management, be induced to give me an article, I care not how brief, or on what subject, with his name. It would be worth to me at least $500, and give me caste at once. I think him . ... as a reasoner, as a speaker, and as a writer, absolutely unsurpassed. I have the very highest opinion of his abilities. There is no man in America from whom I so strongly covet an article.” Poe mentions his plan to visit Washington: “In a few weeks, at farthest, I hope to take you by the hand.” His friend Thomas Wyatt is also in the capital city: “About a week since I enclosed an introductory letter to yourself in one to a friend of mine (Professor Wyatt) now in Washington.

I presume you have seen him. He is much of a gentleman &I think you will be pleased with him.” In a postscript Poe adds: “Smith not rejected yet! — Ah, if I could only get the Inspectorship, or something similar, now — how completely it would put me out of all difficulty.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 223-25. The Prospectus of The Stylus is reproduced in the chronology for March 4, 1843. In his October 14, 1841, letter to Poe, Thomas had suggested that [page 512:] Judge Upshur, the Secretary of the Navy and a personal friend of President Tyler, might be able to help him obtain a government position. Poe was almost certainly mindful of this possibility when he remarked that he considered Upshur “as a reasoner, as a speaker, and as a writer, absolutely unsurpassed.” Poe believed that his chances of obtaining a position in the Philadelphia Custom House would be greatly enhanced if the United States Senate were to reject Thomas S. Smith's appointment to the Collectorship (see the chronology for March 3, 6, 7, 1843). The present letter provides evidence of his continued friendship with Thomas Wyatt, the principal author of The Conchologist's First Book.

March, 1843

MARCH: The Pioneer ceases publication; the magazine's expenses have been much greater than its profits, and James Russell Lowell and his partner Robert Carter are left deeply in debt. The final number of The Pioneer contains Poe's “Notes on English Verse.”

NOTE: For information on the magazine's financial condition, see the chronology for March 24, 29, 1843.

MARCH: Graham's Magazine publishes “Our Amateur Poets, No. I. — Flaccus,” in which Poe demolishes the poetic claims of Thomas Ward, “a gentleman of elegant leisure” resident in New York City: “What there is in ‘elegant leisure’ so much at war with the divine afflatus, it is not very difficult, but quite unnecessary, to say. The fact has been long apparent. Never sing the Nine so [page 513:] well as when penniless.” Poe asks: “Who calls Mr. Ward a poet? He is a second-rate, or a third-rate, or perhaps a ninety-ninth-rate poetaster. ... . Similar opinions, we believe, were expressed by somebody else — was it Mr. Benjamin? — no very long while ago. But neither Mr. Ward nor ‘The Knickerbocker’ would be convinced.”

NOTE: The second and final installment of Poe's scathing critiques of “Our Amateur Poets” appeared in Graham's Magazine for August, 1843 (see the chronology). Thomas Ward (1807-1873), a wealthy New Yorker, had contributed a series of verse tales to the Knickerbocker Magazine under the pseudonym of “Flaccus.” In noticing Graham's Magazine for March in The Spirit of the Times, February 22, p. 2, col. 5, John S. Du Solle opined that “Poe's review of ‘Flaccus’ is really exquisite.” This criticism was seen in a different light by James Kirke Paulding, who, on February 25, expressed his reservations in a letter to Rufus W. Griswold, editor of Graham's Magazine:

I observe in your last number the commencement of what seems to be a series of numbers, on our American Poets. A critical analysis of our Poetry, given with proper judgement, taste, and temper would be not only interesting but useful; and Mr. Poe has

I Know both the two first, but certainly has not given a good sample of the last on [in?] his notice of Mr. Ward. I Know nothing of that Gentleman, but have read his little collection, and am of opinion it does not merit the — I will not dignify them with the honors of severity — but the scurrilous strictures bestowed on them by Mr. Poe. Such articles will do no credit to your Magazine, and make many deadly enemies, among a race proverbial for their irritability. If he continues this Series, I would advise you to “Restrain and aggravate his choler,” as Nic Bottom says — or he will bring a Nest of Hornets about your Ears. Let Mr. Poe proceed coolly, impartially and dispassionately, and I am of opinion there are few if any, writers among us more capable of doing justice to the subject. I have formerly seen some criticisms of his, in poetical productions, equally distinguished by [page 514:] profound analysis, and cultivated Taste.

See The Letters of James Kirke Paulding, ed. Ralph M. Aderman, pp. 329-30. Lewis Gaylord Clark, the editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine, was often at loggerheads with Poe. In the “Editor's Table” of the Knickerbocker, 22 (July, 1843), 89, Clark published an unfavorable reaction to Poe's review of Thomas Ward which he attributed to “an old and favorite contributor”:

Seeing the other day a number of “GRAHAM's Magazine,” I read in it an article by E. A. POE, who comes down on your old correspondent “FLACCUS” like a mountain of lead! It is clear that “FLACCUS” has in many places exposed himself to the charge of unmelodious rhymes, incongruous figures, and occasionally faulty taste. But there is a difference between a POPE that sometimes nods, and a CIBBER that never wakes! I am not easily moved, in the matter of poetry; I think, at least, that it must have merit to please me; and I well remember that FLACCUS's metrical love-tale in your pages seemed to me very sweet and original, and strongly redolent of the early English odor. His “Epistle from my Arm-chair” was in good hexameters, and his “Address to the President of the New-England Temperance Society” had a TOM MOORE-ish spice of elegant wit about it, and might have been written by Mr. POE in about a century of leap-years.

MARCH 1: John Tomlin, in Jackson, Tennessee, writes Poe:

Since the death of Mr. White of the “Literary Messenger,” I have often thought if you would take charge of it, what a great Journal it would become, under your conduct and supervision. With you at the head of the “Messenger,” and Simms of the “Magnolia” (my two most valued friends), we of the South would then have a pride in talking about our Periodical Literature. Does this suggestion accord with any notion that you have had on the subject? I would really like to see you, untrammeled, at the head of some popular Journal of the South.

NOTE: Works, XVII, 133. Thomas Willis White had died on [page 515:] January 19, 1843. Poe may have given some thought to Tomlin's suggestion, because he subsequently attempted to acquire the subscription list of the Southern Literary Messenger for The Stylus (see the chronology for March 24, April, and April 22, 1843). William Gilmore Simms, editor of The Magnolia, was Tomlin's friend and correspondent.

MARCH 3: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, notices a new publication: “RECANTATION is a well-written and bitter poem, by L[.] A. Wilmer, full of good points, and marked with an occasional bad one.”

NOTE: The appearance of Lambert A. Wilmer's “Recantation” was also noticed by the Saturday Museum, March 4, p. 2, col. 6. The poem was issued as a fourteen-page pamphlet by J. R. Colon, a Philadelphia bookseller. Wilmer dedicated the work to John Tomlin, of Jackson, Tennessee, “as a sincere, though inadequate, testimonial of respect and friendship.” Joseph Evans Snodgrass evaluated “Recantation” in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter; his remarks are entered in the chronology for April 22, 1843.

MARCH 3: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 2, reports that Samuel D. Patterson, who has previously been “well known as the editor of the Harrisburg Reporter,” has become affiliated with the Saturday Evening Post. According to The Pennsylvanian, March 4, p. 2, col. 3, “‘THE SATURDAY EVENING POST,’ the oldest of the Philadelphia weekly papers, is hereafter to be conducted by S. D. Patterson &Co., and Mr. C. J. Peterson retires from the concern.” On March 11 the Post, p. 2, col. 2, carries the following card: [page 516:]


Samuel D. Patterson, Esq., a gentleman well known as an able writer and practised editor, has become by purchase one of the proprietors of the United States Saturday Post. Mr. C. J. Peterson retires from the concern, and will hereafter devote his entire attention to his flourishing periodical, “The Lady's World.”

The firm will be changed to Samuel D. Patterson &Co., to whom all letters relative to the business of the establishment will hereafter be addressed.

MARCH 3: In a session which does not end until “long after midnight,” the United States Senate rejects the appointment of Thomas S. Smith to be Collector of the Port of Philadelphia; it confirms in his place Calvin Blythe, a Democrat who had held the Collectorship during the Van Buren administration and who had been replaced by Jonathan Roberts.

NOTE: The Senate's action was reported by the Washington Daily Madisonian, March 6, p. 2, col. l. According to Gravely, “Thomas Dunn English,” p. 344, Blythe's reappointment indicated that the Tyler administration, “as well as the controlling Tyler faction in Philadelphia, had ceased trying to placate the Whigs and had placed all their hopes in trying to effect a reconciliation with the Democratic Party.”

MARCH 4: The Saturday Museum, p. l, reprints “The Poets &Poetry of Philadelphia, Number II: Edgar Allan Poe.”

NOTE: The sketch of Poe had originally appeared in the Saturday Museum for February 25 (see the chronology). The March 4 issue may possibly represent the earliest surviving copy of this Philadelphia weekly. According to Heartman and Canny, p. 249, the late J. H. Rindfleisch of Richmond, Virginia, once owned the January 28, February 25, and [page 517:] March 4, 1843, issues of the Museum; but the present location of these copies does not seem to have been recorded. The American Antiquarian Society holds a photostat of the March 4, 1843, issue formerly owned by James Southall Wilson, as well as a substantial file of the Museum for 1844. The Society also has an undated “Extra No. l,” which is discussed in the chronology for post March 18, 1843. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill holds the Museum for March 4, March 18, April l, and August 5, 1843; the August 5 issue is somewhat mutilated. The Wisconsin State Historical Society has a complete file of the Museum from June 10, 1843, through January 20, 1844, as well as a mutilated copy of the March 2, 1844, issue; the Society's holdings are now available on microfilm, but p. 3 of the August 19 issue and pp. 1 &3 of the September 2 issue have been inadvertently omitted on the film.

MARCH 4: In the Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 4, Thomas C. Clarke announces that Poe will become the “assistant Editor” of this weekly:


The Spirit of the Times, of Friday [February 24], says: —”The Saturday Museum of this week contains a very fair likeness of our friend, Edgar A. Poe, Esq. with a full account of his truly eventful life. We look upon Mr. Poe as one of the most powerful, chaste, and erudite writers of the day, and it gives us pleasure to see him placed, through the public spirit of our neighbor of the Museum, in his proper position before the world.”

We are glad to hear so good a paper as the Times speak thus highly of Mr. Poe, not only from the justice which it renders that powerful writer, but because we have been so fortunate as to secure his services as assistant Editor of the Saturday Museum. We have the pleasure of announcing this week, this association, [page 518:] from which our paper cannot fail to reap the most brilliant advantages. The arrangement will be commenced with some splendid typographical improvements, that we are about introducing, and which will put the Museum where we intend it shall be placed — beyond the reach of competition.

So great was the interest excited by the Biography and Poems of Mr. Poe, published in the Museum of last week, that to supply those who were disappointed in obtaining copies, we shall be at the expense of an extra Museum, in which the whole article will be re-printed, with corrections and additions. Of this extra we shall publish an edition on fine white paper. It will be ready for delivery at this office on Saturday morning.

NOTE: The March 4 issue, p. 2, col. 9, also carried a prospectus for the Museum, in which Clarke had written: “we have secured, at a high salary, the services of EDGAR A. POE, Esq., a gentleman whose high and versatile abilities have always spoken promptly for themselves, and who, after the first of May, will aid us in the editorial conduct of the journal.” Poe's connection with the Museum was favorably noticed by several Philadelphia newspapers. In reviewing this issue, the Pennsylvania Inquirer, March 3, p. 2, col. 2, commented: “E. A. Poe, Esq. is now associated in the editorial department. This is an important acquisition, Mr. Poe being an able and spirited writer, a profound critic, and well calculated to add interest to the columns of the Museum.” The United States Gazette, March 3, p. 2, col. 2, also welcomed the announcement of Poe's editorship: “His new position will afford another field for the exercise of his fine talents, a natural result of which will be to impart an increased degree of interest to the Pages of the Museum.” On March 4 The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, recorded its opinion that Poe would add “much strength and interest” to the Museum; and The Pennsylvanian, p. 2, col. 3, stated that “his services will no doubt add to [page 519:] the popularity of the publication.” Notwithstanding these favorable reactions, Clarke's announcement was premature, as Poe explained in his March 27, 1843, letter to James Russell Lowell.

MARCH 4: The Saturday Museum, p. 3, col. 7, carries an advertisement for a forthcoming magazine:




A Monthly Journal of General Literature,


And Published, in the City of Philadelphia, by CLARKE &POE.

—— unbending that all men

Of thy firm TRUTH may say —”Lo: this is writ With the antique iron pen.”

Launcelot Canning.

To the Public. — The Prospectus of a Monthly Journal to have been called “THE PENN MAGAZINE,” has already been partially circulated. Circumstances, in which the public have no interest, induced a suspension of the project, which is now, under the best auspices, resumed, with no other modification than that of the title. “The Penn Magazine,” it has been thought, was a name somewhat too local in its suggestions, and “THE STYLUS” has been finally adopted.

It has become obvious, indeed, to even the most unthinking, that the period has at length arrived when a journal of the character here proposed, is demanded and will be sustained. The late movements on the great question of International Copy-Right, are but an index of the universal disgust excited by what is quaintly termed the cheap literature of the day: — as if that which is utterly worthless in itself, can be cheap at any price under the sun.

“The Stylus” will include about one hundred royal octavo pages, in single column, per month; forming two thick volumes per year. In its mechanical appearance — [page 520:] in its typography, paper and binding — it will far surpass all American journals of its kind. Engravings, when used, will be in the highest style of Art, but are promised only in obvious illustration of the text, and in strict keeping with the Magazine character. Upon application to the proprietors, by any agent of repute who may desire the work, or by any other individual who may feel interested, a specimen sheet will be forwarded. As, for many reasons, it is inexpedient to commence a journal of this kind at any other period than the beginning or middle of the year, the first number of “The Stylus” will not be regularly issued until the first of July, 1843. In the meantime, to insure its perfect and permanent success, no means will be left untried which long experience, untiring energy, and the amplest capital, can supply. The price will be Five Dollars per annum, or Three Dollars per single volume, in advance. Letters which concern only the Editorial management may be addressed to Edgar A. Poe, individually; all others to Clarke &Poe.

The necessity for any very rigid definition of the literary character or aims of “The Stylus,” is, in some measure, obviated by the general knowledge, on the part of the public, of the editor's connexion, formerly, with the two most successful periodicals in the country —”The Southern Literary Messenger,” and “Graham's Magazine.” Having no proprietary right, however, in either of these journals; his objects, too, being, in many respects, at variance with those of their very worthy owners; he found it not only impossible to effect anything, on the score of taste, for the mechanical appearance of the works, but exceedingly difficult, also, to stamp, upon their internal character, that individuality which he believes essential to the full success of all similar publications. In regard to their extensive and permanent influence, it appears to him that continuity, definitiveness, and a marked certainty of purpose, are requisites of vital importance; and he cannot help thinking that these requisites are attainable, only where a single mind has at least the general direction of the enterprise. Experience, in a word, has distinctly shown him — what, indeed, might have been demonstrated à priori — that in founding a Magazine wherein his interest should be not merely editorial, lies his sole chance of carrying out to completion whatever peculiar intentions he may have entertained.

In many important points, then, the new journal will differ widely from either of those named. It will [page 521:] endeavor to be at the same time more varied and more unique; — more vigorous, more pungent, more original, more individual, and more independent. It will discuss not only the Belles-Letters, but, very thoroughly, the Fine Arts, with-the Drama; and, more in brief, will give, each month, a Retrospect of our Political History. It will enlist the loftiest talent, but employ it not always in the loftiest — at least not always in the most pompous or Puritanical way. It will aim at affording a fair and not dishonorable field for the true intellect of the land, without reference to the mere prestige of celebrated names. It will support the general interests of the Republic of Letters, and insist upon regarding the world at large as the sole proper audience for the author. It will resist the dictation of Foreign Reviews. It will eschew the stilted dulness of our own Quarterlies, and while it may, if necessary, be no less learned, will deem it wiser to be less anonymous, and difficult to be more dishonest, than they.

An important feature of the work, and one which will be introduced in the opening number, will be a series of Critical and Biographical Sketches of American Writers. These Sketches will be accompanied with full length and characteristic portraits; will include every person of literary note in America; and will investigate carefully and with rigorous impartiality, the individual claims of each.

It shall, in fact, be the chief purpose of “The Stylus,” to become known as a journal wherein may be found, at all times, upon all subjects within its legitimate reach, a sincere and a fearless opinion. It shall be a leading object to assert in precept, and to maintain in practice, the rights, while, in effect, it demonstrates the advantages, of an absolutely independent criticism; — a criticism self-sustained; guiding itself only by the purest rules of Art; analyzing and urging these rules as it applies them, holding itself aloof from all personal bias; and acknowledging no fear, save that of outraging the Right.


N.B. Those friends of the Proprietors, throughout the country, who may feel disposed to support “The Stylus,” will confer an important favor by sending in their names at once.

The provision in respect to payment “in advance,” [page 522:] is intended only as a general rule, and has reference to the Magazine when established. In the commencement, the subscription money will not be demanded until the issue of the second number.

C. &P.

NOTE: The Prospectus of The Stylus had previously appeared in the Museum for February 25 (see the chronology). The Philadelphia newspapers do not appear to have paid much attention to The Stylus; possibly the city's editors had become accustomed to seeing prospectuses advertising Poe's proposed journal. Joseph Evans Snodgrass discussed The Stylus in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter on March 11, and William Gilmore Simms noticed in the June number of The Magnolia (see the chronology).

MARCH 4: The Saturday Museum, p. 2, cols. 5-6, publishes a lengthy satiric critique of Graham's Magazine for March, in which an anonymous reviewer alludes to Rufus W. Griswold, the magazine's editor, as “Mr. Driswold.”

NOTE: In his “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe,” quoted by Whitty, Poems, p. xlv, Frederick William Thomas stated: “Poe kept up a continuous warfare upon Griswold in the Museum, poking fun at him, and alluding to him as Mr. Driswold of Graham's Magazine, in childish humor.” The present review, with its “childish humor,” does not warrant this attribution. In his October 19, 1843, letter to James Russell Lowell, Poe stated that the review was the work of Henry B. Hirst.

MARCH 4: The Saturday Museum, p. 3, col. 6, carries an advertisement: “HENRY B. HIRST, / ATTORNEY AT LAW. / OFFICE NO. 30 SOUTH FIFTH STREET, Third door below Walnut Street, West side.” [page 523:]

NOTE: The advertisement is repeated in subsequent issues.

MARCH 4: In the Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 4, Thomas C. Clarke discusses a forthcoming work: “‘The Fantomes,’ a wild, fanciful poem, by Dr. English, we shall take pleasure in presenting to our readers next week.”

NOTE: Thomas Dunn English's “The Fantomes” appeared in the Museum, March 18, p. 1, col. 5. He was a principal contributor during Clarke's editorship.

MARCH 4: In the Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 4, Thomas C. Clarke addresses his readers: “The article by our friend J. K. Townsend, Esq., which we copy to-day from the National Intelligencer, will be read with interest. His Narrative, we shall endeavour to progress more rapidly with hereafter.”

NOTE: John Kirk Townsend, a Philadelphia scientist then living in Washington, was a featured contributor to the Museum. In the March 4 issue, p. 2, cols. 1-2, Clarke had reprinted Townsend's “An Interesting Sketch of the Oregon Territory” from the Washington Daily National Intelligencer. The Museum was then in the process of publishing Townsend's Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains, which was described as “Re-written for the Philadelphia Saturday Museum.” In the prospectus for the Museum carried by the March 4 issue, p. 2, col. 9, Clarke Promised: “The ‘Narrative of Townsend's Journey over the Rocky Mountains,’ one of the most interesting and valuable ever published, is sent to all new subscribers. At its conclusion, our readers will find themselves in possession of a work which alone will be worth double the subscription to the paper.” Additional information on Townsend's relation to the Museum may be found in the chronology for [page 524:] March 9, 18, and post March 18, 1843.

MARCH 6: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, John S. Du Solle comments on the new Collector of the Port of Philadelphia: “The appointment of Hon. Calvin Blythe is everything we could wish. He is honest, capable, Democratic and popular. He was Collector under Van Buren, and the post was never filled to greater advantage, than on that occasion. We welcome him back.” Du Solle adds: “Shocking long faces at the Custom House on Saturday. Strange! The officers there should look happy. Don’t they all intend to be [as] Blythe as possible?”

NOTE: The appointment of the new Collector was believed to signal another round of appointments and removals in the Philadelphia Custom House.

MARCH 7: Poe writes Robert Carter, who is acting as the editor of The Pioneer during James Russell Lowell's absence: “Could you do me a very great favor? I am obliged to go on to Washington on Saturday morning — this is Tuesday — and am in sad need of means. I believe there is due me from ‘The Pioneer’ $30, and if you could, by any management, send me the amount so as to reach me, here, by that period, I would feel myself under deep obligation. If you cannot spare 30$ I would be exceedingly glad of $20.” Poe adds that the third number of The Pioneer has not yet reached Philadelphia, although it has arrived in New York. He hopes that Lowell is recovering from his illness. Poe signs the letter “In great haste. / Yours truly / Edgar A Poe[.]”

NOTE: Letters, I, 225-26. According to Ostrom, “Fourth Supplement,” 536, Thomas Ollive Mabbott listed this letter as a possible forgery; but its contents seem genuine. On [page 525:] March 6 the Philadelphia papers reported Calvin Blythe's appointment as Collector of Customs;,this news may have prompted Poe to consider going to Washington “In great haste.” The available evidence suggests that he left for the capital city on Wednesday, March 8, several days before the date given in his letter to Carter. His March 11 letter to Thomas C. Clarke and his March 16 letter to Frederick William Thomas and Jesse E. Dow establish that he did not have sufficient funds for his journey; moreover, his March 16 letter establishes that he expected to receive payment from The Pioneer. The fact that Poe went to Washington at a time when his friend Thomas was bedridden suggests that his trip was hastily planned and that he did not bother to write ahead (see the chronology for March 8).

MARCH 8: In the morning Poe leaves Philadelphia; he arrives in Washington by evening. Upon lodging at Fuller's Hotel, he discovers that his friend Frederick William Thomas is ill and confined to his room. Thomas gives Poe a letter of introduction to Robert Tyler.

NOTE: This is the most plausible date for Poe's journey to Washington. His letter to Robert Carter reveals that he was still in Philadelphia on March 7. Thomas’ March 8 letter to Robert Tyler and Poe's March 9 letter to John Kirk Townsend suggest that he arrived in Washington by the evening of March 8. Presumably, his itinerary was similar to that followed by Charles Dickens in his well-documented trip from Philadelphia to Washington a year before; the details of the British novelist's journey are given in the chronology for March 9, 1842. Phillips, Poe, I, 804-05, and several other biographers assert that Poe roomed at a Washington boarding house operated by “a widow Barrett,” as Mathew Brady, the photographer, supposedly claimed in an [page 526:] 1866 reminiscence. The most reliable documentary evidence suggests that he stayed at the popular City Hotel operated by A. Fuller and located on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets; for an explanation, see the directory entry for Brady. Dickens also stayed at Fuller's Hotel, which he described in his American Notes, I, 279-81. John H. Hewitt's reminiscence of Poe's visit to Washington is reproduced in the directory; Thomas’ brief account in his “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe” is quoted in the chronology for circa March 12, 1843.

MARCH 8: Frederick William Thomas writes Robert Tyler, the oldest son of President John Tyler:

My dear friend

This will be handed to you by my friend, Poe, of Philadelphia, who is anxious to know the author of “Ahasuerus.”

I would have presented Poe in person to you, but I have been confined to my bed for the last week with congestive fever, and am covered all over with the marks of cupping and blistering and am not able to go out, though I am convalescing. — When you are down town do call and see me — I feel as lonely as a cat in a strange garret —

Yours most truly F. W. Thomas. Washington Feby 8. 1843.

Robert Tyler Esqr Executive Mansion.

NOTE: MS, Boston Public Library. The letter bears no postmark, but Thomas’ February 8 dating is almost certainly incorrect. There is no mention of Thomas’ illness in either his February 1 letter to Poe or in Poe's February 25 letter to him. For conclusive evidence that Thomas was bedridden when Poe arrived in Washington on March 8, see the [page 527:] chronology for March 11, circa March 12, and March 12, 1843. Thomas seems to have been in the habit of dating his letters exactly one month behind the actual date; for example, his May 11, 1841, letter to Poe is dated April 11, and his September 3, 1841, letter to him is dated August 3 (see the chronology for May 11 and September 3, 1841). Poe had expressed his admiration for Robert Tyler's poem “Ahasuerus” in his February 3, 1842, letter to Thomas.

MARCH 8-9: On the evening of his arrival, Poe is “over-persuaded to take some Port wine” and seems to be “somewhat excited”; on the next day he keeps “pretty steady,” avoiding excessive drinking.

NOTE: This entry is based upon Jesse E. Dow's March 12 letter to Thomas C. Clarke.

MARCH 9: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports: “There are over twelve hundred applicants for situations in the Custom House, under the new Collector already.”

MARCH 9: Poe writes John Kirk Townsend:

Fuller's Hotel.

Thursday Morning.

March 9. 43.

Dr Sir,

I have the honor to enclose two letters, and the bearer will deliver a case containing an air-gun.

In a day or two I will do myself the pleasure of calling.

With High Respect, Yr Ob Srt

Edgar A Poe [page 528:]

John K. Townsend Esqre

NOTE: This letter is transcribed from a facsimile of the manuscript reproduced in “Three New Poe Letters,” American Transcendental Quarterly, No. 14, Pt. 2 (Spring, 1972), 8992. In 1926 Phillips published this letter in her Poe, I, 802-03; the manuscript has since been unavailable to scholars. Although Ostrom reprinted the imperfect text given by Phillips, he declined to admit the letter “unreservedly to the canon” (see the Letters, I, 226-27; II, 502). Thomas Ollive Mabbott also cited Poe's letter to Townsend as a possible forgery (see Ostrom's “Fourth Supplement,” 536). In 1971 the manuscript was offered for sale by Kenneth W. Rendell, Inc., of Somerville, Massachusetts; its reappearance suggests that the reservations held by Mabbott and Ostrom are unwarranted. There is, moreover, nothing in the text of the letter which might indicate that it is a forgery. Townsend appears in the Washington Directory for 1843. Poe may have been performing a service for Thomas C. Clarke by delivering two letters to Townsend, who was then a featured contributor to the Saturday Museum; for documentation, see the chronology for March 4, March 18, and post March 18. The “air-gun” was a device which interested Poe; he knowledgeably discussed various experiments made with it in “A Chapter on Science and Art,” Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, 6 (March, 1840), 149-50. Townsend was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and one of the nation's leading scientists; he could have shared Poe's interest in the air gun.

MARCH 10: Poe begins to drink excessively; “at intervals” he becomes “quite unreliable.”

NOTE: This entry is based upon Jesse E. Dow's March 12 [page 529:] letter to Thomas C. Clarke.

MARCH 11: In the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 2, col. 7, Joseph Evans Snodgrass notices The Stylus:

EDGAR ALLAN POE. — A late number of the Philadelphia Museum, contains a long biographical sketch of this far famed writer, accompanied by a portrait, which is perhaps as good as a wood-cut could make it — but not very truthful we think. We observe that the proprietors of the Museum, intend to unite with Mr. Poe, in the establishment of a new magazine to be called The Stylus. We have seen the design of the title page-which represents a hand inscribing the greek [sic ] of truth, with a stylus. The form of the work, will be a large octavo of single column. — The text will be illustrated by one of the best artists.

In this magazine — the first of which Mr. Poe will have claimed the publishing controul [sic ] (if indeed the editorial)[ — ] it will most unquestionably bear the impress of his genius and taste — while it will open a new era in the way of critical literature. True criticism we need much — and of true criticism Poe has proved himself the only master in the land. We say this with due allowance for occasional bad-tempered hyper-criticisms, which he has suffered himself to pen.

His magazine will make a sensation when it appears — as it will, we are assured, in the course of the summer.

MARCH 11: Poe, in Washington, writes Thomas C. Clarke, his partner on The Stylus, who has apparently financed his trip to the capital city:

I write merely to inform you of my will-doing [sic ] — for, so far, I have done nothing. My friend Thomas, upon whom I depended, is sick. I suppose he will be well in a few days. In the meantime, I shall have to do the best I can. I have not seen the President yet.

My expenses were more than I thought they would be, although I have economised in every respect, and this delay (Thomas’ being sick) puts me out sadly. However all is going right. I have got the subscriptions of all the Departments — President, [illegible] [page 530:] &c[.] I believe that I am making a sensation which will tend to the benefit of the Magazine.

Day [after] to-morrow I am to lecture.

Rob. Tyler is to give me an article — also Upsher.

Send me $10 by mail, as soon as you get this. I am grieved to ask you for money, in this way. —

but you will find your account in it — twice over.

NOTE: Letters, I, 227-28. According to Ostrom, Letters, II, 502, the letter is “carelessly written, with a portion so heavily scratched out as to be illegible”; a facsimile of the manuscript may be found in William F. Gill's Life of Edgar Allan Poe, after p. 120. Gill observed that the letter's “conflicting statements and unsteady penmanship . ... plainly tell the story of the unfortunate condition of the author.” In his February 25 letter to Thomas, Poe had expressed his desire to obtain contributions from Robert Tyler and Abel Parker Upshur for The Stylus. It is unlikely that Poe delivered a lecture during his visit to Washington.

CIRCA MARCH 12: Poe's behavior is adversely affected by his excessive drinking. He is guilty of “petulance” toward Frederick William Thomas; he occasions “vexation” to the wife of Jesse E. Dow. While intoxicated he encounters Thomas Dunn English and makes fun of his “mustachios” and his appearance. At a social gathering held at Fuller's Hotel, Poe becomes drunk from the proprietor's port wine. He is quite ill after these excesses, and “for several days” he remains under the care of Thomas’ physician.

NOTE: The probable reconstruction of events is based upon Thomas’ “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe,” quoted by Whitty, Poems, p. x1vii, and upon Poe's March 16 letter to Thomas and Dow. This dating is suggested by Poe's March 11 letter to Thomas C. Clarke and by Dow's March 12 letter to him. [page 531:] In his “Recollections” Thomas wrote: “I was confined to my room by sickness when Poe came to Washington early in 1843. He was sober when I saw him, but afterward in the company of old friends he drank to excess. My physician attended him for several days, and he suffered much from his indiscretion.” Thomas’ physician may have been the “Dr Lacey” Poe mentioned in his March 16 letter. Persuasive arguments that the “Don” he mentioned was Thomas Dunn English have been advanced by Thomas Ollive Mabbott and William Henry Gravely, Jr. , “Two Replies to ‘A Minor Poe Mystery,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, 5 (1944), 106-14. Gravely suggested that English, being a leader of President Tyler's supporters in Philadelphia, may have come to Washington in connection with the altered political situation caused by the Senate's rejection of Thomas S. Smith, and that he may have encountered Poe at a social gathering held at Fuller's Hotel; for additional information, see his “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 352-54, and his “Poe and Thomas Dunn English” in Papers on Poe, ed. Richard P. Veler (Springfield, O.: Chantry Music Press, 1972), pp. 165-93. English's animosity to his greater contemporary was fully developed by early 1843, because he included a vicious portrait of Poe under the influence of alcohol in his temperance novel The Doom of the Drinker, which seems to have been completed during the spring of this year (see the chronology for ante June 10, 1843).

MARCH 12: Jesse E. Dow writes Thomas C. Clarke, describing Poe's conduct in Washington:

He [Poe] arrived here a few days since. On the first evening he seemed somewhat excited, having been over-persuaded to take some Port wine.

On the second day he kept pretty steady, but since then he has been, at intervals, quite unreliable. [page 532:]

He exposes himself here to those who may injure him very much with the President, and thus prevents us from doing for him what we wish to do and what we can do if he is himself again in Philadelphia. He does not understand the ways of politicians, nor the manner of dealing with them to advantage. How should he?

Mr. Thomas is not well and cannot go home with Mr. P. My business and the health of my family will prevent me from so doing.

Under all the circumstances of the case, I think it advisable for you to come on and see him safely back to his home. Mrs. Poe is in a bad state of health, and I charge you, as you have a soul to be saved, to say not one word to her about him until he arrives with you. I shall expect you or an answer to this letter by return of mail.

Should you not come, we will see him on board the cars bound to Phila., but we fear he might be detained in Baltimore and not be out of harm's way.

NOTE: William F. Gill published this letter in his Life of Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 120-22. Frederick William Thomas being bedridden, Dow seems to have acted as Poe's guide to the capital city. Poe's March 11 letter to Clarke suggests that he had been escorted through the different government “Departments,” where he collected subscriptions to The Stylus. It is not unlikely that Poe was in Dow's company when he antagonized Thomas Dunn English, and that English took note of his friendship with the former editor of The Index. For evidence of the animosity which existed between English and Dow-, see the chronology for November 27, 1841, and September 7, 1842. English may have been one of the politicians whom Dow feared would harm Poe's standing “with the President” and hence his chances of obtaining a position in the Philadelphia Custom House. In all probability, Dow himself harmed Poe's chances of issuing The Stylus by sending this letter to Thomas C. Clarke, who frequently praised the temperance movement in his editorials for the Saturday Museum. Anne E. C. Clarke remembered that her father totally abstained from both liquor and tobacco; her [page 533:] testimony is given by John Sartain, Reminiscences, p. 217.

CIRCA MARCH 14: Thomas C. Clarke receives Jesse E. Dow's March 12 letter; Clarke writes Dow in reply.

NOTE: This entry is based upon Poe's March 16 letter to Thomas and Dow.

MARCH 15: Poe leaves Washington early in the morning. At approximately half past four in the afternoon, he arrives in Philadelphia and finds Mrs. Clemm waiting for him at the train station. After taking a warm bath and eating supper, Poe visits Thomas C. Clarke, who is very surprised to see him. Clarke has been greatly disturbed by Jesse E. Dow's letter, from which he has concluded that his partner on The Stylus “must not only be dead but buried.” Poe tries to mitigate the effect of Dow's message, as he was to relate in a letter written on the following day: “I told him [Clarke] what had been agreed upon — that I was a little sick &that Dow, knowing I had been, in times passed, given to spreeing upon an extensive scale, had become unduly alarmed &c&c. — that when I found he had written I thought it best to come home. He said my trip had improved me &that he had never seen me looking so well!!! — and I don’t believe I ever did.”

NOTE: This entry is provided by Poe's March 16 letter to Thomas and Dow. The fact that Poe went to visit Clarke immediately after arriving in Philadelphia indicates his deep concern over the effect that Dow's letter might have had on his partner. The story Poe related on the evening of March 15 may not have fully convinced Clarke, who quite Possibly heard an entirely different version of his partner's behavior from Thomas Dunn English shortly before or after this date. English had returned to Philadelphia [page 534:] by March 25, on which date he was one of the principal speakers at a temperance meeting in the city. Clarke, another staunch advocate of the temperance movement, greatly admired English, a younger man who was a frequent visitor to his home and an important contributor to his newspaper, the Saturday Museum. Anne E. C. Clarke left a revealing reminiscence of an evening when both English and Poe unexpectedly appeared at her father's house: “Among the callers or stoppers-in would be ‘Tom’ as he was called, Dr. Thomas Dunn English, who, after being bon camarade with Hirst and Poe, quarrelled with one or both. All three of them happening in early one evening, they had to be kept apart lest they come to deadly strife. English was put in the parlour, Hirst in the library, where he was in the habit of lying prone on a lounge by the hour, dreaming dreams and seeing visions, and Poe was shown as usual into the dining-room.” In Miss Clarke's account, which is quoted by John Sartain, Reminiscences, p. 226, no date is suggested for the gathering of these three Philadelphia literati; but it may well have occurred shortly after Poe returned from Washington. Additional information on English's relationship with Clarke and his Saturday Museum may be found in the chronology for ante June 10, June 10, December 23, 1843, and February 3, 10, 1844.

MARCH 16: Poe sends a single letter to both Frederick William Thomas and Jesse E. Dow. He describes his trip from Washington to Philadelphia on the preceding day and his subsequent visit to Thomas C. Clarke's residence in the evening. Poe is still very much concerned with Clarke's possible reaction to Dow's March 12 letter, because he adds: “Clarke, it appears, wrote to Dow, who must have received the letter this morning. Please re-inclose the letter to [page 535:] me, here — so that I may know how to guide myself.” Virginia Poe's health is unchanged, but “her distress of mind has been even more than . ... anticipated.” Poe apparently alludes to his March 7 letter to Robert Carter, which seemingly has not been answered: “The letter which I looked for &which I wished returned, is not on its way — reason, no money forthcoming — Lowell had not yet sent it — he is ill in N. York of opthalmia.” As soon as Poe receives the sum due for his contributions to The Pioneer, he will repay the money he borrowed from his two friends while in Washington: eight dollars from Dow and three and a half dollars from Thomas. Poe addresses a paragraph of his letter to Dow alone: “My dear fellow — Thank you a thousand times for your kindness &great forbearance, and don’t say a word about the cloak turned inside out, or other peccadilloes of that nature. Also, express to your wife my deep regret for the vexation I must have occasioned her. Send me, also, if you can the letter to Blythe. Call, also, at the barber's shop just above Fuller's and pay for me a levy which I believe I owe. And now God bless you — for a nobler fellow never lived.” He similarly addresses his other correspondent:

And this is for Thomas. My dear friend. Forgive me my petulance &don’t believe I think all I said. Believe me I am very grateful to you for your many attentions &forbearances — and the time will never come when I shall forget either them or you. Remember me most kindly to Dr Lacey — also to the Don, whose mustachios I do admire after all, and who has about the finest figure I ever beheld — also to Dr Frailey. Please express my regret to Mr Fuller for making such a fool of myself in his house, and say to him (if you think it necessary) that I should not have got half so drunk on his excellent Port wine but for the rummy coffee with which I was forced to wash it down.

Poe still has hope of obtaining a position in the [page 536:] Philadelphia Custom House: if Robert Tyler can obtain “the Inspectorship” for him, Poe promises to “join the Washingtonians forthwith.” He asks Thomas to write immediately, enclosing, if possible, “a line” from Tyler. The prospects of The Stylus seem to be improving: “Upon getting here I found numerous letters of subscribers to my Magazine — for which no canvas has yet been made.” Poe mentions two subscribers whom he enlisted in Washington: Commodore Jesse E. Elliott and Dr. Lacey.

NOTE: Letters, I, 228-30. Poe evidently prepared this letter with great care, because it exists in two different holographs: the manuscript actually sent through the mail is held by the Boston Public Library, but the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore holds a one-page draft which bears no postmark and reveals minor verbal differences. The draft is printed by Arthur H. Quinn and Richard H. Hart, eds., Edgar Allan Poe Letters and Documents in the Enoch Pratt Free Library (New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles &Reprints, 1941), pp. 16-18. To the manuscript Poe mailed, Thomas appended a note, which is printed in the Works, XVII, 137-38. Thomas commented that “there is a great deal of heartache in the jestings of this letter.” The “Washingtonians” Poe promised to join were not residents of the capital city, but members of a temperance-society; the merits of this organization had been celebrated by T. S. Arthur in his Six Nights with the Washingtonians: A Series of Original Temperance Tales (1842). Poe wished to acquire from Robert Tyler a letter recommending him to Calvin Blythe, the new Collector of Customs (see the chronology for ante March 31 and March 31, 1843). Dow's wife, Eliza Stetson Dow, was the mother of several children (see the directory). “Dr Lacey” was probably Thomas’ physician, who treated Poe; the “Don” has been identified as Thomas Dunn English (see the chronology for [page 537:] circa March 12). According to the Washington Directory for 1843, pp. 30, 105, Dr. Charles S. Frailey was a clerk in the General Land Office; in 1841 he had composed a cipher which Poe published in Graham's Magazine (see the chronology for July 1, 4, 6, August, 1841). A. Fuller, the proprietor of the City Hotel, also appears in the Washington Directory, pp. 31, 194. Dow had previously served as private secretary to Commodore Elliott, a controversial American naval officer. On March 3, 1843, The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 1, had reported: “COMMODORE ELLIOTT, we learn from Washington, is now on a visit to the seat of Government.”

MARCH 16: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports:

THE NEW COLLECTOR — The Custom House — The Hon. Calvin Blythe arrived in this city on Tuesday night, and yesterday morning, having taken the necessary oath, &c[,] entered upon the duties of the office, as the new Collector of the Port.

On Monday, the captains of the C.H. boats, and some others were sworn in; and on Tuesday all the Inspectors,&c. were passed through the same formula. No removals have taken place as yet, though a great number we believe are in contemplation. The present incumbents are in a dreadful state of apprehension. Some look quite sick. Others are so agitated they can scarcely attend to their duties.

In the meantime the Custom House is beset with an army of eager applicants for office, and name after name is diligently sought after to append to petitions and recommendations. All this indicates the hardness of the times. Thousands of men are ready and anxious to take a public office now, who, in ordinary times, would rather trust to their own independent exertions for a living.

Judge Blythe will no doubt find it difficult to make a choice. ... .

MARCH 18: In the Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 7, Thomas C. Clarke informs his readers of a forthcoming [page 538:] contribution from George Lippard: “We have received the First Chapter of ‘Randulph the Prince, or, the Romance of Brandywine,’ by the talented author of ‘Herbert Tracy.”

NOTE: Lippard's Randulph the Prince was commenced in the June 10 issue of the Museum; it appeared weekly through July 22, 1843, when its publication was “suspended indefinitely.”

MARCH 18: The Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 6, informs its readers that George W. Fairman has purchased the “interest of Daniel Roberts Harper, Esq., the business partner in this establishment”; the Museum will now be published by the firm of “Clarke &Fairman.”

NOTE: “Thos. C. Clarke &Co.” had been the firm name originally given on the Museum's masthead. Clarke continued to be the paper's editor. Fairman soon sold his share of the Museum, which was having serious financial difficulties (see the chronology for September 30, 1843).

MARCH 18: The Saturday Museum, p. 1, cols. 7-9, publishes “Chapter V” of John Kirk Townsend's Narrative of a Journey Across the Rock Mountains.

NOTE: Townsend's Narrative, described as “Re-written for the Philadelphia Saturday Museum,” was concluded in the September 9, 1843, issue.

POST MARCH 18: The Saturday Museum publishes “Extra. No. l,” an undated number which contains only the first five chapters of John Kirk Townsend's Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains, various advertisements, and the Prospectus for The Stylus.

NOTE: This dating is suggested by the fact that “Clarke & [page 539:] Fairman” are listed as the publishers of “Extra No. 1”; George W. Fairman's connection with the Museum was not announced until the March 18, 1843, issue. “Extra” numbers of the weekly containing Townsend's Narrative were offered as an inducement to new subscribers; for documentation, see the chronology for March 4, 1843.

MARCH 24: Poe writes Peter D. Bernard, the son-in-law of Thomas Willis White:

With this letter I mail to your address a number of the “Philadelphia Saturday Museum”, containing a Prospectus of “The Stylus”, a Magazine which I design to commence on the first of July next, in connexion with Mr Thomas C. Clarke, of this city.

My object in addressing you is to ascertain if the list of “The South: Lit: Messenger” is to be disposed of, and, if so, upon what terms. We are anxious to purchase the list and unite it with that

of “The Stylus,” provided a suitable arrangement could be made. I should be happy to hear from you upon the subject.

NOTE: Letters, I, 230-31. According to “Richmond City, Virginia, Marriage Bonds, 1780-1866” (Richmond, 1937: typescript in the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington), p. 18, a marriage bond between Bernard and White's daughter Sarah Ann had been issued on November 7, 1833. Bernard does not seem to have answered this letter, which was one of several Poe wrote to his Richmond acquaintances in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the subscription list of the Southern Literary Messenger for The Stylus. For additional information, see the chronology for April and April 22, 1843.

MARCH 24: James Russell Lowell writes Poe, stating that he has neglected to correspond in the hope of being able to remit the sum owed his friend for his contributions to The [page 540:] Pioneer. Lowell promises to pay Poe as soon as possible, but he explains that the magazine's failure has left him deeply in debt: “The magazine was started on my own responsibility, &I relied on the payments I should receive from my publishers to keep me even with my creditors until the Magazine should be firmly established. You may conceive my distress when the very first note given me by my publishers has been protested for nonpayment, &the magazine ruined. For I was unable to go on any farther, having already incurred a debt of $1,800 or more.” Lowell is now making arrangements to borrow money to cover his debts. “The loss of my eyes at this juncture (for I am as yet unable to use them to any extent) adds to my distress.” In a postscript Lowell states that he has heard that Poe has again become an editor: “I hope so; if it were only to keep our criticism in a little better trim.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 138-39. Additional information on the failure of The Pioneer may be found in the chronology for March 29, 1843. Poe had requested payment for his contributions in his March 7 letter to Robert Carter; his editorship of the Saturday Museum had been announced in the weekly's March 4 issue, but he never formally joined its staff (see his March 27 reply to Lowell).

MARCH 25: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 4, carries a brief advertisement: “WASHINGTON TEMPERANCE SOCIETY. — DR. DUNN ENGLISH and MR. C. PLUMMER will address the meeting to be held THIS EVENING, (Saturday) at 7 ½ o’clock, at the Hall, corner of Front and Spruce streets. ... .”

MARCH 25: The Saturday Museum publishes Poe's “Original Conundrums.” [page 541:]

NOTE: Although no copy of the Museum for this date is known to exist, John S. Du Solle preserved Poe's contribution by reprinting it in The Spirit of the Times on March 28. The Poe conundrums in the March 25 and April 1 issues are given by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Poe's ‘Original Conundrums,’” Notes and Queries, 184 (June 5, 1943), 328-29.

MARCH 27: Frederick William Thomas replies to Poe's March 16 letter: “I would have answered it immediately, but my desk got so behindhand, during my illness when you were here, that every moment of my time has been engaged in bringing it up.” Thomas imagines that Jesse E. Dow's March 12 letter to Thomas C. Clarke “astonished” Poe's family: “Our friend Dow, you know, is an imaginative man, and he thought that you, as we say in the West, had ‘broken for high timber’ — I have had a hearty laugh at him for his fears.” Thomas evaluates Poe's standing with President Tyler and his sons:

I cannot leave the office at present to see Robert Tyler, as you suggest, to get a line from him. But this I can tell you that the President, yesterday, asked me many questions about you, and spoke of you kindly. John Tyler, who was by, told the President that he wished he would give you an office in Philadelphia, and before he could reply a servant entered and called him out. John had heard of your frolic from a man who saw you in it, but I made light of the matter when he mentioned it to me; and he seemed to think nothing of it himself. He seems to feel a deep interest in you. Robert was not by. I feel satisfied that I can get you something from his pen for your Magazine.

Thomas concludes his letter on an encouraging note: “Be of good cheer. I trust to see you an official yet.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 140-41. Poe himself wrote Robert Tyler to request a letter of recommendation which he could present to Calvin Blythe, the new Collector of Customs in [page 542:] Philadelphia, probably shortly after he received the present letter from Thomas (see the chronology for ante March 31 and March 31). Robert Tyler, the oldest son of President John Tyler, was a close friend of Thomas; John Tyler (1819-1896) was the President's second son.

MARCH 27: Poe replies to James Russell Lowell: “I have just received yours of the 24th and am deeply grieved, first that you should have been so unfortunate, and, secondly, that you should have thought it necessary to offer me any apology for your misfortunes. As for the few dollars you owe me — give yourself not one moment's concern about them. I am poor, but must be very much poorer, indeed, when I even think of demanding them.” Poe hopes that Lowell has overestimated his financial difficulties and that he will be able to continue The Pioneer: “Its decease, just now, would be a most severe blow to the good cause — the cause of a Pure Taste.” Poe is forwarding a copy of the Saturday Museum containing an article in which he has praised Lowell's magazine. “I am not editing this paper, although an announcement was prematurely made to that effect; but have the privilege of inserting what I please editorially.” On July 1, 1843, Poe hopes to issue the first number of The Stylus; he is also sending “a paper containing the Prospectus.” In several weeks he hopes to forward “a specimen sheet.” He would like to include a poem from Lowell in the opening number, but he believes he would be wrong to solicit one until his correspondent has recovered his health. Poe adds: “When you find yourself in condition to write, I would be indebted to you if you could put me in the way of procuring a brief article (also for my opening number) from Mr Hawthorne — whom I believe you know personally.” In The Stylus Clarke and Poe intend to publish “a [page 543:] series of portraits of the American literati, with critical sketches”; Lowell is to be the first author in the series. Poe asks: “Could you put me in possession of any likeness of yourself? — or could you do me the same favor in regard to Mr Hawthorne?” He would also be grateful if Lowell would send “some biographical &critical data” as well as information on his published works, especially those in prose. Poe asks to be remembered to Robert Carter.

NOTE: Letters, I, 231-33. No “specimen sheet” of The Stylus is known to have been published; the Prospectus had appeared in various issues of the Saturday Museum (see the chronology for February 25, March 4, and post March 18, 1843). Nathaniel Hawthorne agreed to contribute to The Stylus, but he does not seem to have forwarded an article to the magazine (see Lowell's April 17 and May 8 letters to Poe).

MARCH 29: Robert Carter discusses the fate of The Pioneer in a letter to John Neal:

I have delayed writing to you because I wished to be able to communicate the final destiny of the Pioneer, and it is only within a day or two that all negotiations and hopes and doubts on the subject have concluded. The result is that the magazine must stop or rather has stopped. There is no help for it. By the knavery of our publishers we shall have to pay certainly $1510 and perhaps $2286 or even more. Under such circumstances it would be madness to go on at our own risk, because we should have to make the succeeding numbers pay not only for themselves and our time and labor, but the above 1500 or 2200. We have sought in vain for a publisher who would take even half the risk although we offered to edit it for nearly nothing.

NOTE: Carter's letter is printed by Benjamin Lease, “Robert Carter, James Russell Lowell and John Neal: A Document,” Jahhrbuch für Amerikastudien, 13 (1968), 246-48. [page 544:]

MARCH 29: The Dollar Newspaper announces details of a prize story contest. A first prize of one hundred dollars will be awarded for the best story submitted. There will also be a second prize of sixty dollars and a third prize of forty dollars.

NOTE: The Dollar Newspaper's contest is remembered because Poe won the first prize with his tale “The Gold-Bug.” The date of the weekly's announcement is established by reports in The Spirit of the Times, March 30, p. 2, col. 2, and in the Baltimore Sun (see the chronology for March 31). The details of the contest were repeated in the weekly's April 5 issue (see Phillips’ Poe, I, 793). Two letters Poe wrote after leaving Philadelphia establish that he had originally sold “The Gold-Bug” to Graham's Magazine for fifty-two dollars, and that he retrieved the story from George R. Graham and then entered it in the Dollar Newspaper's contest (see the Letters, I, 272-73; II, 356). Presumably, Poe had completed the story and sold it to Graham's Magazine prior to March 29. Katharine Rex, a young niece of George R. Graham, remembered hearing him read “The Gold-Bug” aloud shortly after he purchased the tale for his magazine; her account is cited in the directory entry for Mrs. Katharine Rex Burgin.

ANTE MARCH 31: Poe writes Robert Tyler, asking his correspondent to recommend him to Calvin Blythe, the new Collector of Customs.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from Tyler's March 31 reply.

MARCH 31: Robert Tyler replies to Poe:

I have received your letter in which you express [page 545:] your belief that Judge Blythe would appoint you to a situation in the Custom House provided you have a reiteration of my former recommendation of you. It gives me pleasure to say to you that it would gratify me very sensibly, to see you appointed by Judge Blythe. I am satisfied that no one is more competent, or would be more satisfactory in the discharge of any duty connected with the office.

NOTE: Works, XVII, 141. Calvin Blythe did not appoint Poe.

MARCH 31: The Baltimore Sun, p. 2, col. 3, reports:

PRIZES. — Important to Literary WritersVery Liberal Offers and No Humbug. — We perceive by an advertisement in the last number of the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, that the publishers have come out with an offer of $200 for the three best stories that shall be furnished them by the first day of June next. One hundred for the best, sixty for the second, and forty for the third best. The only conditions imposed upon the writers, are that the subjects of the stories shall be American, and that they shall not be less than a certain length. This exhibits a liberality rarely met with among the publishers of our weekly sheets.

NOTE: The Sun was published by A. H. Simmons &Co., the same firm that issued the Dollar Newspaper.

April, 1843

APRIL [?]: Poe writes William MacKenzie, asking him to ascertain from “the heirs, or successors,” of Thomas Willis White whether the subscription list of the Southern Literary Messenger is for sale: “A capitalist of this place is anxious to purchase [the list], if possible, and, as I am interested, I will take it as a very great favor if you will make the necessary inquiries, and write me as soon as possible.” Poe's family in Philadelphia is well: “Virginia [page 546:] is nearly recovered — indeed I may say quite so — with the exception of a slight cough, which is only noticeable in the morning.” Poe asks his correspondent to tell his sister Rosalie that he hopes “to see her before long,” and that he will write her in the near future.

NOTE: Letters, I, 233. William MacKenzie, a Richmond merchant, and his wife Jane adopted Poe's sister Rosalie after the death of their mother on December 8, 1811. According to Mary Wingfield Scott, Houses of Old Richmond (1941; rpt. New York: Bonanza Books, n. d.), p. 215, William MacKenzie died in 1829. The William MacKenzie Poe was addressing in this letter was probably his son. Additional evidence that Poe corresponded with his sister Rosalie during the Philadelphia period is provided by his April 22 letter to Thomas MacKenzie and by his June 20 letter to Miss Lucy D. Henry. The “capitalist of this place” would have been Thomas C. Clarke.

APRIL 1: The Saturday Museum, p. 1, cols. 1-2, publishes Poe's “The Destruction of the World.”

NOTE: This tale was originally entitled “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion”; presumably, Poe authorized the Museum's reprint.

APRIL 12: Charles J. Peterson, in Philadelphia, writes James Russell Lowell in Boston, discussing the demise of The Pioneer: “It was with sorrow that I heard of your losses through the failure of your publishers. I can sympathize with you, for I once suffered to an even greater amount in the same way. Do not be disheartened. You will find ways and friends yet, where you least expected them, and so the sun will be all the brighter for the tempest that has rolled [page 547:] off behind the hills. Your magazine had such high promise that I felt its loss to be a national loss. And it would have steadily increased if energetically managed.”

NOTE: MS, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Peterson may have lost money on his first editorial venture, the Daily Focus, a Philadelphia newspaper which expired in 1840.

APRIL 17: James Russell Lowell replies to Poe's March 27 letter, informing him that Nathaniel Hawthorne has agreed to contribute to The Stylus and will forward an article in a week or two: “His terms are $5 a page, but probably, as your pages will ‘eat up’ Copy with a less anaconda-like appetite than the fine print magazines, your best plan would be to pay him so much by the article. His wife will make a drawing of his head or he will have a Daguerreotype taken, so that you can have a likeness of him.” Lowell discusses a likeness of himself which Poe might use for the series on American authors to be published by The Stylus: “Page has painted a head of me which is called very fine, &which is now Exhibiting (I believe) at the National Academy in New York. This might be Daguerreotyped — or I might have one taken from my head as it is now — namely in a more civilized condition — the portrait by Page having very long hair, not to mention a beard and some symptoms of moustache, &looking altogether, perhaps, too antique to be palatable to the gentle public.” Lowell has abandoned the practice of law and intends to devote himself “wholly to letters.” He adds: “I shall live with my father at Cambridge in the house where I was born. I shall write again soon &send you a poem and some data for a biographical sketch.” Lowell gives Poe advice on the business management of The Stylus: “Be very watchful of your publishers &agents. They must be driven as men drive [page 548:] swine, take your eyes off them for an instant &they bolt between your legs &leave you in the mire.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 142-43. William Page, a New York painter, was a friend of Lowell; a portrait of Lowell made by Page in 1842 is reproduced by Martin Duberman, James Russell Lowell, after p. 168.

ANTE APRIL 22: Thomas MacKenzie writes Poe, informing him that the heirs of Thomas Willis White have not yet reached a decision on the fate of the Southern Literary Messenger.

NOTE: This letter has not been found; Poe dates it as “some time ago” in his April 22 reply. This dating is suggested by Ostrom, Letters, II, 702-03; he comments that MacKenzie's letter may have actually preceded Poe's March 24 letter to Peter D. Bernard.

APRIL 22: Poe writes Thomas MacKenzie: “About a fortnight ago, I wrote to Peter D. Bernard, who married one of T. W. White's daughters, and made inquiry about ‘The Southern Literary Messenger’, but have received no reply. I am very anxious to ascertain if it is for sale, and if it is, I wish to purchase it (through my friends here). You wrote me, sometime ago, that the heirs had not made up their minds respecting it.” Poe now requests that MacKenzie call upon Bernard, “or upon some one of the other heirs,” and inquire whether the Messenger's subscription list is

to be disposed of: “If the list is for sale I would make arrangements for its immediate purchase upon terms which would be fully satisfactory to the heirs. But do not let them suppose I am too anxious. By the bye, there may be some prejudice, on the part of the heirs, against me [page 549:] individually, on account of my quitting White — suppose, then, you get some one of your friends to negotiate for you and don’t let me be known in the business at all.” He adds: “Tell Rose that Virginia is much better, toe and all, &that she has been out lately, several times,

taking long walks. She sends a great deal of love to all.”

NOTE: Letters, II, 702-03. Thomas MacKenzie was the son of William MacKenzie and his wife Jane, who adopted Poe's sister Rosalie. The present letter strongly suggests that Poe was still planning to begin The Stylus with Thomas C. Clarke as his partner; by June 3, however, Clarke had publicly announced his withdrawal from the project.

APRIL 22: In the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, p. 3, col. 2, Joseph Evans Snodgrass reviews “Recantation”:

The author of this production, is L. A. Wilmer of Philadelphia — one of the most sarcastic writers of the day, endowed with powers which we fear he is trifling away on such small-fry as the feigned “recantation” of his former opinions. We do not thus speak in condemnation of the aim of the book — which is good and creditable, so far as exhibiting a boldness unusual and therefore challenging our respect. The assaninty [sic ] of some of the rhymesters herein shown up, is palpable to all discriminating eyes. The strictures on “Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America” — or, as it should have been styled, “of the Northern States”[ — ] are deserved, at least in part. It is a faulty book — yet has merits which some dispute through spitefulness on account of having either been left out altogether, or placed in the appendix — the latter being the unkindest cut of all, and that, by-the-bye, received by our self-puffing, self-picturing poetic “friend and fellow citizen,” Prof. Brooks, who swears Griswold is no judge of good poetry!

NOTE: In “Recantation,” a satirical poem, Lambert A. Wilmer pretended to retract the unflattering opinions of various American poets he had expressed in The Quacks of Helicon [page 550:] (1841). Snodgrass and Nathan C. Brooks seem to have been enemies since the failure of their Baltimore monthly, the American Museum, in June, 1839. Poe alluded to their quarrel in his January 20, 1840, letter to Snodgrass.

APRIL 27: Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, in New York City, discusses the character of Rufus W. Griswold, editor of Graham's Magazine, in a letter to Mrs. Lydia H. Sigourney:

I do know the Rev R Griswold. Your opinion was correct[;] he is a man of talent and poetical research but you ask my opinion in confidence and in confidence I give it — he is a man constitutionally incapable of speaking the truth, a sycophant in your company, a serpent in the company of those who like to hear you unjustly spoken of — a man incapable of steady friendship or enmity, in short a moral coward and a dangerous person to be connected with. But he is a useful Editor and invaluable to Mr Graham from his industry[,] taste and above all from his soft manners and cringing habits which make him remarkably popular with a certain class of writers. Whatever he has said of you has been said fifty times of every writer in the country, and if he has given an unfavorable opinion one day be assured a favorable one was given the next. His conduct towards myself was utterly unprincipled and nothing but my personal influence with Mr Graham, which happened to be more powerful than he dreamed of, prevented him doing me a serious injury. When he saw that any further attempt to wrong me would be likely to ruin himself he became humble enough and the second time I ever saw him in my life he completely astonished me by the humility of his apologies, apologies that would have been more valuable had they seemed to cost any sacrifice of pride to principle.

Mrs. Stephens clarifies her opinion of Griswold:

I have not a particle of ill feeling toward Mr Griswold, in truth it seems to me that he ought to be incapable of creating strong feelings of any kind[;] his want of truth[,] justice and dignity seems to be an infirmity rather than a vice. ... . I may be prejudiced in my opinion but it is my opinion which, however, I would not speak or write except as you have [page 551:] desired it and as you may require a knowledge of the man in your connection with the Magazine. Write nothing to him which may not be exhibited. Whatever confidential business you have do it with Mr

Graham . ... .

NOTE: MS, Hoadly Collection, Sigourney Correspondence, Connecticut Historical Society. Mrs. Stephens had been announced as one of the editors of Graham's Magazine in its December, 1841, number (Vol. 19, p. 308). For additional evidence of her animosity toward Griswold, see the chronology for September 10, 1842, and January 5, 1843. Mrs. Sigourney, the nation's most popular poetess, had praised Griswold's “superior talent” and indicated her desire to become a regular contributor to Graham's Magazine in her December 20, 1842, letter to George R. Graham. She had subsequently asked Mrs. Stephens for an insider's opinion of the magazine's new editor.

May, 1843

MAY 3: The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 80) carries a lengthy advertisement for the Saturday Museum, which is described as “the largest and best printed Family Newspaper in the United States — furnishing in the course of the year, near six thousand octavo pages of rich and useful reading for families, at the rate of thirty pages for one cent.” The advertisement outlines “the strong attractions” which the Museum will offer in the coming year; these include a series on “The Poets and Poetry of Philadelphia.”

NOTE: The advertisement is repeated in subsequent issues of The Citizen Soldier. The description of the Museum's series on Philadelphia poets is reproduced in the chronology [page 552:] for February 18, 1843.

MAY 8: James Russell Lowell writes Poe: “I have been delaying to write to you from day to day in the expectation that I should have received an article from Hawthorne to send with my letter.” Nathaniel Hawthorne has not yet provided the promised contribution for The Stylus. Lowell apologizes for his own failure to send Poe a poem for the forthcoming magazine: “You must forgive my dilatoriness, my dear friend, the natural strength of which is increased by the pressure of my debts — a source of constantly annoying thought which prevents my doing almost anything as yet.” Lowell provides a brief sketch of his life for the series on American authors which is to appear in The Stylus. He thanks Poe for sending a copy of the Saturday Museum containing a biographical sketch of his “own eventful life”: “Your early poems display a maturity which astonished me &I recollect no individual (&I believe I have all the poetry that was ever written) whose early poems were anything like as good. Shelley is nearest, perhaps.” In closing Lowell adds: “I have greater hopes of your'stylus’ than I had of my own magazine, for I think you understand editing vastly better than I shall for many years yet — &You have more of that quality — which is the Siamese twin brother of genius — industry — than I.”

NOTE: Works, XVII, 143-44.

ANTE MAY 15: Poe writes his cousin William Poe, giving an account of “many recent reverses” and of financial difficulties. Poe informs his correspondent that his wife Virginia is in poor health; he himself is ill and depressed.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from William [page 553:] Poe's June 16 letter to Poe.

MAY 15: William Poe replies; he states his deep concern for Poe and his family, although he expresses himself freely, using “a style” not likely to be relished by his correspondent.

NOTE: The contents of this letter are surmised from William Poe's June 16 letter to Poe.

MAY 16: James Russell Lowell writes Poe:

I send you this little poem with some fears that you will be disappointed therein. But it is on the whole the most likely to please of any that I could lay my hands on — my MSS. being trusted to fortune like the.Sybil[’]s leaves, &perhaps, like hers, rising in value to my mind as they decrease in number. You must tell me frankly how you like what I sent &what you should like better. Will you give me your address more particularly so that in case I have a package to send you I can forward it by express?

NOTE: Works, XVII, 14445.

MAY 17: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, reports that “the run mad poet and drunken vagabond, Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, was arrested yesterday.” Fairfield has been charged with setting fire to the residence of Colonel Lee, who had previously ejected him from his home.

NOTE: Lambert A. Wilmer, in his May 20, 1843, letter to John Tomlin, commented on various Philadelphia literati, including Edgar A. Poe and Sumner Lincoln Fairfield. Wilmer did not exaggerate the behavior of the latter author, whose drunken antics were frequently discussed by the Philadelphia newspapers. On May 14, 1841, for example, the Daily Chronicle, p. 2, col. 4, carried the following item: [page 554:]

Sumner Lincoln Fairfield — The famous poet was found yesterday morning, before daylight, stretched out upon the pavement at the corner of Fifth and Lombard streets, dead drunk. — He was carried to the watchhouse, and shortly after being locked up, attempted to make his escape — knocked down the turnkey — assaulted the captain of the watch, and seized the lock and key of his cell, and was guilty of sundry other violent acts. The Mayor ordered the defendant to give bail in the sum of $250, in default of which he was favored with a ride in “Black Maria,” and furnished with a “studio” in Moyamensing. ... .

“Moyamensing” was the popular name for the Philadelphia County Prison. When Poe visited Philadelphia during July, 1849, he apparently was briefly detained in Moyamensing

on a charge of drunkenness (see Quinn, pp. 616-18, and see the Letters, II, 452).

MAY 20: Lambert A. Wilmer writes John Tomlin, who has not corresponded “for several weeks.” Wilmer has previously forwarded a dozen copies of his poem “Recantation” to the Tennessee postmaster. He now furnishes his correspondent with gossip on various Philadelphia literati:

Literary affairs are at a very low ebb in this city at present. Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, who once ranked high among the writers of our country, has become a common loafer about the streets. It is distressing to view such a change.

Edgar A. Poe (you know him by character, no doubt, if not personally), has become one of the strangest of our literati. He and I are old friends,- have known each other since boyhood, and it gives me inexpressible pain to notice the vagaries to which he has lately become subject. Poor fellow! he is not a teetotaller by any means, and I fear he is going headlong to destruction, moral, physical and intellectual.

T. S. Arthur, another old friend of mine, has acquired great popularity by a certain kind of writing and is getting along prosperously.

Wilmer adds: “The ‘Philadelphia Clique’ as it is called, [page 555:] composed of Robt. C. Conrad, R[obert]. Morris, J[oseph]. C. Neale and several others, has seen its palmiest days and is falling into disrepute; — their association to hold each other up will not avail them. Jos. C. Neale, nevertheless, is a man of splendid talents, and Conrad has some excellent points . ... .” Wilmer's next work will be a “political satire” entitled “Preferment”; he hopes to publish it “sometime within the present year.”

NOTE: Quinn, pp. 401-02. Tomlin had defended Wilmer's poem The Quacks of Helicon in the May, 1842, number of The Guardian, a Tennessee periodical; in appreciation Wilmer had dedicated “Recantation,” another satire on American poets, to him (see the chronology for March 9, October 5, 1842, and March 3, 1843). There is no reason to suspect Wilmer of exaggeration in the present letter (see the chronology for May 17, 1843); like William Poe's June 16 letter to his cousin, it suggests that Poe had again resorted to the frequent use of alcohol, and that his drinking had become common knowledge among his associates. Tomlin mentioned Wilmer's account in his July 2 letter to Poe; for additional information on Wilmer's relations with Poe, see the chronology for this date, as well as for post July 2, July 6, August 28, and September 10, 1843.

MAY 31: In The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 109) George Lippard publishes the first of a series of satires attacking the editors and authors associated with George R. Graham &Co..

Written for the Citizen Soldier.

The Spermaceti Papers. [page 556:]



It was unfortunate — but they would call him Spermaceti Sam. He was a clever fellow — but he was so very fat. A talented fellow — but he had an awful extent of lower jaw. An entertaining fellow — but still, they would call him, Spermaceti Sam.

And Sam was literary. Sam was critical. Sam had been poetical; — he had been a statesman in his time. Sam had also been martial.

But, Sam turned literary at last, and went out “West.” He took up his quarters at “Cairo,” the grand city, navigable by boats, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi. Sam beheld a great field for literary enterprize. He would publish a paper — a literary paper. ... .

And, as for the title of his paper? What should it be? Two papers were already in the full tide of successful experiment at “Cairo.” The “SALT RIVER,” which was a euphonious contraction of Salt River Journals, and the “SATURDAY STICK,” which, you must know, was “Saturday Stick-in-the-mud” cut short. Spermaceti Sam bought out these papers.

Mr. P. Sun, or Professor P. Sun, edited the Stick, and S. Acre, Esq., controlled the Salt River. Spermaceti Sam had an idea. He would buy out both these

papers. He would combine them in one.

Next week, the boatmen of “Cairo” were astonished by the announcement. “The Salt River Saturday Stick and Universal Lamp-Post,” — a new weekly, scientific, religious and literary paper, published by Sam’1 Spermaceti, Esq., under the editorial control of Professor P. Sun. N.B. — S. Acre, Esq., will get out the news, attend to the mails, and do the business

of the firm. ... . We make an extract from his [Sam's “leader” of the first paper. Sam had an ingenious idea. He cooked up a “mess of pottage” which he called, “Weekly Gossip.” Here's a specimen:

“Well, the world's as usual. How are ye reader. We like you, reader. ... . Bulwer is said to be engaged on a new novel. In our opinion, Bulwer is a very creditable writer. ... . [page 557:] Subscribe to our paper. Look at the first page-what a mass of reading for six cents! A capital story from the Lady's Globe of Fashion —’The June Bug,’ a poem, from the same popular periodical, by P. Sun, Esq. ... . ‘Born to Love Pigs and Chickens,’ by N. P. Willis, Esq. ‘Letter from under a Sty,’ by ditto. ‘The Poodle Dog,’ by that interesting Poet of Nature, A. B. Sweet, Esq. . In our next, we intend to commence an Original American Novel. ... . This novel is by the author of ‘The Crooked Stick,’ ‘Bruiting in the Last War,’'sheets from a Lawyer's Bag,’ ‘Autumn Pollywogues’ and ‘Pluck,’ a tale. Now, then, reader — and all for six cents! Six red cents!”

NOTE: “Spermaceti Sam” was Colonel Samuel Dewees Patterson, who had recently become one of the publishers of the Saturday Evening Post (see the chronology for March 3, 1843). On October 8, 1842, the Post announced that it had absorbed the Saturday Chronicle and the United States, and that it would henceforth “be issued under the title of the ‘UNITED STATES SATURDAY POST AND CHRONICLE.’” “Professor P. Sun” was Charles J. Peterson, publisher of the Lady's World of Fashion and former editor of the Saturday Evening Post. “S. Acre” may have been Samuel C. Atkinson, who had published the Post for many years (see the chronology for January 12 and November 9, 1839). Heartman and Canny, pp. 172-73, attributed both “The Spermaceti Papers” and “The Walnut Coffin Papers” to Poe; these bibliographers have been corrected by Emilio De Grazia in his “George Lippard,” pp. 81-88, and in his article on “Edgar Allan Poe, George Lippard, and the'spermaceti and Walnut-Coffin Papers,’” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 66 (1972), 58-60. There were nine additional installments of “The Spermaceti Papers”; these are entered in the chronology for June 7, 14, July 5, 12, 19, 26, and August 2, 9, 16, 1843. The three installments of “The Walnut Coffin Papers” are [page 558:] entered in the chronology for September 20, 27, and October 11, 1843.

June, 1843

JUNE: In The Magnolia (New Series, Vol. 2, p. 400), William Gilmore Simms notices Poe's forthcoming magazine:

The Stylus. — Such is the title of a new magazine about to be established in Philadelphia, under the editorial conduct of Mr. Edgar A. Poe. Mr. Poe is well calculated to conduct a literary magazine. He is acknowledged as one of our best writers and critics. If any fault is to be found with him, it is in the latter capacity. He is, we fancy, not unfrequently tempted into the utterance of a smart thing, without troubling himself to ask if it be a just one. But the error may well find its excuse, in a day of such lamentable magazine puffery as the present, and we may forgive an occasional wrong to real genius, — which can most generally revenge itself, — in consideration of the great service done to the literary community by the stern conviction, to punishment, of a cloud [crowd?] of fools.

JUNE 3 OR BEFORE: In the Saturday Museum Thomas C. Clarke announces his withdrawal from The Stylus project.

NOTE: John Tomlin, in his July 2, 1843, letter to Poe, stated that he had seen “Mr. Clark[e]'s announcement in the ‘Museum,’ of his withdrawal from the Stylus projet [sic ].” The Wisconsin State Historical Society holds a file of the Museum from June 10, 1843, through January 20, 1844; there is no mention of The Stylus in these issues. Clarke would therefore have announced his withdrawal in the Museum for June 3 or before. The Philadelphia publisher had several reasons for not embarking on Poe's magazine venture. Clarke's own paper was having serious financial difficulties. Moreover, his publishing experience had been limited almost [page 559:] entirely to “family newspapers,” inexpensive weeklies like the Museum and the Saturday Evening Post, which were designed for a mass audience; he may have felt uncomfortable in his association with The Stylus, an expensive monthly which was, like Cornelius Mathews’ Arcturus and James Russell Lowell's Pioneer, intended to attract readers possessing literary sophistication. Information on the Museum's financial difficulties and on Clarke's goals as a publisher may be found in the chronology for September 30, 1843. In all probability, Clarke, a temperance advocate, was also uncomfortable with his partner's resort to alcoholic beverages: this conclusion is supported by the fact that he permitted Thomas Dunn English to publish a vicious caricature of an intoxicated Poe in the December 9, 1843, issue of the Museum (see the chronology for ante

June 10, 1843).

JUNE 7: In The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 117) George Lippard satirizes “PROFESSOR PETER SUN” in the second installment of “The Spermaceti Papers”:

And the Professor is a writer. The Salt River Saturday Stick and Universal Lamp-Post, glows with his fancy, and shines with his intellect.

In statue [[stature]] he is small — so was Napoleon. His appearance is impressive, his talk is tall. He looms large on your vision, with his long, square body, and short legs, his long, pale face, and his Panama hat.

The Professor, we say, assisted in editing the “Stick and Lamp-Post.” . ...

The Professor had an idea. Why pay half-a-dozen [page 560:] beggarly authors for original stories . ... . Couldn’t Peter be half-a-dozen authors himself? . ... Couldn’t he write under half-a-dozen names? Hey? To be sure he could; and so the third number of “The Salt River Saturday Stick and Universal Lamp-Post,” came out in magnificent array, brilliant with the productions of six new contributors — every soul of the six a genius

Peter is a good boy. He never puts nothing in his productions, except something — really moral. Something to improve the mind, and keep the babies in order. Something “that wouldn’t raise a blush on the most fastidious cheek . ... .”

NOTE: Charles J. Peterson had previously edited the Saturday Evening Post; he was a prolific and careless writer, who, under the cover of various pseudonyms, contributed a vast quantity of popular fiction to the Post, The Casket, and Graham's Magazine.

ANTE JUNE 10: Thomas Dunn English completes The Doom of the Drinker, a temperance novel which contains a vicious caricature of Poe under the influence of alcohol.

NOTE: Strong evidence that English completed his novel during the spring of 1843 is provided by a notice of its forthcoming publication in the Saturday Museum for June 10 (see the chronology). The Doom of the Drinker has been discussed by Willard Thorp, “A Minor Poe Mystery,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, 5 (1943), 30-31; by Mabbott and Gravely, “Two Replies to ‘A Minor Poe Mystery,”’ 5 (1944), 106-14; by Gravely in his “Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 357-61, and in his “Poe and Thomas Dunn English,” pp. 182-84; and by John E. Reilly, “Poe in Imaginative Literature,” Diss. Virginia 1965, pp. 26-27, 241-42. The novel was published in book form in 1847, under the title of [page 561:] Walter Woolfe; or, The Doom of the Drinker. Poe scholars have previously believed that English originally composed the work for the [[sic ]] The Cold Water Magazine, an obscure Philadelphia monthly devoted to the temperance cause. In fact, The Doom of the Drinker was written “expressly” for Thomas C. Clarke's Saturday Museum, where it was published in eleven installments, accompanied by the illustrations of Felix O. C. Darley, the artist who had been under contract to furnish designs for The Stylus. In an article on “Felix O. C. Darley” in Sartain's Magazine, 7 (November, 1850), 309-12, Thomas Dunn English recalled that he had first met this talented young engraver in the year 1842: “At my request, he [Darley] showed me a number of his sketches. Among these were illustrations of . ... ‘The Drunkard's Progress’ . ... and many others, mostly in outline.” English then described the genesis of his temperance novel, which would have occurred not long after the first number of the Saturday Museum was issued on December 10, 1842:

. ... the series of designs portraying the career of a drunkard, were shown to Mr. T. C. Clarke, the proprietor of a new paper, the “Saturday Museum,” now merged in “Neal's Saturday Gazette.” He was struck with their merit, and applied to me to write a novel for his paper, using the pictures as a groundwork. I agreed, but found it impracticable; and instead of the first designed, wrote another work of the character desired, to which Darley furnished the illustrations. Unfortunately for Darley, he had not been used to drawing on the block, and most of the pictures were badly done. Between his inexperience, and the bad workmanship of the engravers, but two of the engravings furnished copies of the original designs. The prosperity of the paper was advanced, if the artist's reputation was not, which I presume was all that was desired by the publisher.

The serialization of The Doom of the Drinker was to have been commenced in the June 10 issue of the Museum; but for some reason — possibly Darley's “inexperience [with “drawing [page 562:]

on the block”], and the bad workmanship of the engravers” — the novel's publication was postponed until the November 25 issue. In the meantime, Thomas C. Clarke, in his enthusiasm for the cause of temperance, had permitted the novel to be serialized in The Cold Water Magazine, a monthly of limited circulation which he did not consider to be in competition with the Museum. For additional information, see the chronology for June 10, October, November 25, December 9, 16, 22, 23, 25, 29, 30, 1843, and January 6, 10, 1844.

JUNE 10: In the Saturday Museum, p. 2, col. 1, Thomas C. Clarke informs his readers that a forthcoming work has been delayed:

The DRUNKARD's DOOM, it would have afforded us great pleasure to have commenced with this No., but the sickness of Mr. R. S. Gilbert, who is to furnish the engravings from Mr. Darley's admirable designs, has prevented our opening the work in season.

NOTE: Thomas Dunn English's The Doom of the Drinker was originally entitled The Drunkard's Doom; the present notice establishes that this temperance novel had been mentioned in one or more previous issues of the Museum, and it suggests that the novel itself was completed and ready for publication prior to June 10. Clarke discussed the status of English's novel and its accompanying engravings several times before its serialization was commenced in the November 25 issue (see the chronology for July 22, October 28, and November 18, 1843).

JUNE 11 [?]: Poe writes Rufus W. Griswold.

NOTE: In his “Memoir,” p. xxi, Griswold published the following letter: [page 563:]

PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 1843.

Dear Griswold: — Can you not send me $5? I am sick, and Virginia is almost gone. Come and see me. Peterson says you suspect me of a curious anonymous letter. I did not write it, but bring it along with you when you make the visit you promised to Mrs. Clemm. I will try to fix that matter soon. Could you do anything with my note?

Yours truly,

E. A. P.

The manuscript of this letter has never been located; its authenticity is highly questionable. Assuming that Griswold forged the June 11 letter, it suggests that he may have had personal knowledge of the Poe family's straitened circumstances at this time. William Poe's June 16 letter to his cousin also refers to Virginia's illness, Poe's despondency, and the family's financial difficulties.

JUNE 14: The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 124) publishes the third installment of “The Spermaceti Papers.” George Lippard takes his reader into the editorial sanctum of “The Salt River Saturday Stick and Universal Lamp-Post,” which is occupied by Professor Peter Sun, Spermaceti Sam, and Blow Nakre. A stranger enters: “A slim, grave individual, with a solemn face, and long draggled masses of dark hair, sweeping behind the ears, stood before the trio. He was clad in black, a'shiny’ black. A bundle was in his hand, in fact — a blue calico handkerchief bundle.” The newcomer identifies himself:

“My name,” said the stranger, “is Rumpus Grizzel. The Reverend Rumpus Grizzel. I’m away from down east. I’ve been doin’ a small bit of writing in Fildelfy [Philadelphia] — tryin’ to set up a Standard in politics. Then I tried to set up a guide Post in literature. It would’nt [sic ] do; so I came out here. You [page 564:] haint got no kind of a job for me in the literary way here, have you?”

“Are you,” cried Professor Sun —”Are you the author of the Poets of Lickemwell?”

“With illustrations and copious notes?” chimed in Blow Nakre . ... .

NOTE: Around November 27, 1840, Rufus W. Griswold came to Philadelphia to work on the Daily Standard, a Whig newspaper; his association with the Saturday Evening Post was announced in the May 14, 1842, issue of that weekly. “Blow Nakre,” whom Lippard identifies as the “business man” of the “Stick,” was William Sloanaker, the bookkeeper of Graham's Magazine; he is discussed in John Sartain's Reminiscences, pp. 218-19. The next installment of “The Spermaceti Papers” did not appear until July 5; on June 21, however, Lippard published an editorial in which he caustically alluded to Griswold and Charles J. Peterson.

JUNE 14: The Dollar Newspaper announces that Poe has been awarded the first prize in its story contest for a tale entitled “The Gold-Bug.”

NOTE: This entry is established by reports in the Pennsylvania Inquirer and the Baltimore Sun (see the chronology for June 15, 16, 1843) .

JUNE 15: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 3, John S. Du Solle discusses a proposed exploit of unusual daring:

Crossing the Ocean in Balloons.

Mr. Wise, the Aeronaut, as we mentioned yesterday, announces his intention to traverse the Atlantic Ocean with a balloon! The thing looks very extravagant, we [page 565:] admit, but it is hard to say what strange event may not happen now-a-days, or what power, by the aid of the developments of science, a man may not yet be enabled to exercise over the comparatively passive elements of the Earth.

Our pleasant friend of the Lancaster Intelligencer, from which paper we cut Mr. Wise's letter, remarks that “though the scheme may look somewhat Quixotic, we have no doubt Mr. W. possesses the nerve to attempt, and, we believe, has the ability to carry it out! Our New York friends, therefore, must not be astonished to see our intelligent and scientific Aeronaut arrive in their city, next year, with his ‘large balloon,’ and take his departure thence for the regions of the Old World. Would it not create a stir that would far exceed the reception of a hundred Presidents, though every man were a Tyler [man]! And, then, what a sensation he would produce in England, as, coming along the channel, he made preparations to settle down his aerial chariot in the heart of the great London world — or, missing this, suppose him dropping in upon the Frenchmen, at Paris, or Calais, or Bordeaux — or, going further still, suppose him wafted into Constantinople, dashing down unceremoniously, and without notice to the Sublime Porte! Why, our townsman would become more justly renowned than did Captain Ross in his voyage to the North Pole, or Lewis &Clarke in steering up the Mississippi — or the ambitious searcher after the still mysterious source of the Nile!

Mr. Wise speaks for himself, however, in a tone of easy confidence that will surprise no one who know[s] his courage and resolution.

TO ALL PUBLISHERS OF NEWSPAPERS ON THE GLOBE — As it is my intention to make a trip across the Atlantic Ocean in a Balloon, in the summer of 1844, and as the descent, or landing of Balloons, in my experience, has almost invariably created unnecessary alarm to the inhabitants, I, therefore, give this general notice to the sea-faring community, of all climes, that should they, during any time henceforth, chance to be in the vicinity of a Balloon, either on the Ocean, or in the Atmosphere, they will not be under any fearful apprehensions, but endeavor to give aid to the adventurers.

It must not be inferred from this, that the success is considered improbable, but merely to be prepared for all emergencies. [page 566:]

Having, from a long experience in aerostatics, been convinced, that a regular current of air is blowing at all times, from W. to E., with a velocity of from 20 to 40 miles per hour, according to its height from the earth, and having discovered a composition which will render silk, or muslim, impervious to hydrogen gas, so that a Balloon may be kept afloat for many weeks, I feel confident, with these advantages, that a trip across the Atlantic will not be attended with as much real danger as by the common mode of transition.

The Balloon is to be one hundred feet in diameter, which will give a nett ascending power of twenty-five thousand pounds — being amply sufficient to make everything safe and comfortable. A sea-worthy boat is to be used for the car, which is to be depended on, in case the Balloon should happen to fail in accomplishing the voyage. The boat would also be calculated upon in case the regular current of wind should be diverted from the course by the influence of the Ocean, or through other causes. The crew to consist of three persons, viz., an Aeronaut, a Navigator, and a Scientific Landsman.

Therefore, the people of Europe, Africa, Asia, and all other parts, on the Ocean or elsewhere, who have never seen a Balloon, will bear in mind, that it is a large Globe made of cloth, ensconced in a net work, with a sloop hanging underneath it, containing the “latest news from the U. States,” with the crew of the world's obedient servant.


Lancaster, Pa., June 8th, 1843.

NOTE: John Wise's letter “TO ALL PUBLISHERS OF NEWSPAPERS ON THE GLOBE” was reprinted by many newspapers: it is a probable source for Poe's “Balloon-Hoax,” which appeared in the New York Sun on April 13, 1844; and it does much to explain why his story was not immediately recognized as a fiction.

JUNE 15: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 5, reports: [page 567:]

A Prize Story.

The following is from the “Dollar Newspaper” of yesterday. We congratulate the successful competitor. The story alluded to will no doubt prove worthy the reputation of its gifted author, and the high distinction which has been conferred upon it by the Committee: —

Early after the first of June, we placed in the hands of the “Committee of Decision” all the stories which had reached us pursuant to our offer of premiums, and hoped to be able in the present number of our paper to publish their award, announcing all the premiums. The temporary indisposition of one of the Committee, and the necessary absence of another from town for a few days, have precluded them from concluding their labours as they expected. They have not, however, been idle, and inform us that they have gone over all the stories presented to them, and have awarded the first prize of ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS to “THE GOLD BUG,” which we find, on examination. of the private notes sent us, and which no one of the members of the Committee has seen, was written by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., of this city — and a capital story the Committee pronounce it to be.

NOTE: Robert Morris, the editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer, admired Poe's writings.

JUNE 16: The Baltimore Sun, p. 2, col. 2, reports:

A PRIZE TALE. — Some time since, as announced in this paper, the proprietors of the “Dollar Newspaper” made an offer of premiums more liberal in amount we believe than has hitherto been done by any newspaper in the country, for the best stories which should be sent them before the first of June. The premiums thus submitted to the writers of light literature, were $100 for the best, $60 for the next, and $40 for the third in merit; the tales to be placed in the hands of a committee for decision, whose names were not made known, while the names of the candidates were received in sealed notes by the publishers. We learn by the last number of “The Dollar” that the committee have decided upon a story entitled “The Gold Bug,” as the best, which proves to have been written by Edgar A. [page 568:] Poe, Esq., of Philadelphia; it is announced to appear in the next number of the above paper, and with the added commendation of the committee that it is an excellent tale, will be no doubt universally sought. The committee have not yet decided on the second and third prizes, some difficulty being experienced in the fact that there are several of the tales of nearly equal merit. The decision is, however, expected next week.

NOTE: The Baltimore Sun had reported the details of the Dollar Newspaper's story contest on March 31, 1843 (see the chronology). Like the Philadelphia Public Ledger, The Sun was published by A. H. Simmons &Co., the same firm that issued the Dollar Newspaper.

JUNE 16: William Poe, in Baltimore, writes his cousin Edgar:

I wrote you on the 15th ulto since which time I have rec’d nothing from you, mine was in answer to a letter reed giving an a/c of yr many recent reverses, &I fear it was in a style not relished by you, but in great sincerity of feeling for you &yours I wrote it, and the reason why I presumed to be so free in my expressions was in consequence of the great friendship, I feel for you &interest I take in yr welfare, &therefore hoped to hear again from you, &of yr wife's being better, &yr recovery from the sickness &despondency you were suffering when you last wrote.

William Poe has seen a notice in the Baltimore Sun that his cousin has been awarded a prize of one hundred dollars by the Dollar Newspaper for his tale “The Gold-Bug”; he hopes that this money came in time to relieve Poe of his financial difficulties. “Ought you ever to give up in despair when you have such resources as yr well stored mind to apply to?” William Poe then offers his cousin a word of advice: “There is one thing I am anxious to caution you against, &which has been a great enemy to our family, I hope, however, in yr [page 569:] case, it may prove unnecessary, ‘A too free use of the Bottle.’ Too many &especially Literary Characters, have sought to drown their sorrows &disappointments by this means, but in vain, and only, when it has been too late, discovered it to be a deeper source of misery . ... 11

NOTE: Works, XVII, 145-46. William Poe was a resident of . Augusta, Georgia; he may have been visiting his relatives in Baltimore. The manuscript of the present letter, held by the Boston Public Library, is dated June 15, but postmarked June 16. The letter was definitely written on June 16 because William mentioned the Baltimore Sun's June 16 report on “The Gold-Bug.” Two other members of the Poe family who suffered from “A too free use of the Bottle” were David Poe, Edgar's father, and Henry Poe, his brother (see Quinn, pp. 37, 49, and see the Letters, I, 29).

JUNE 17: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 3, reports the continuing growth of George R. Graham &Co.:

Graham's Magazine.

This popular monthly not only goes on increasing, in all points of the Union, on its own merits, but the publisher occasionally gets a windfall for his enterprise, in large lists of other Magazines, which are not able to compete with him in expenditure. He recently got the list of the “Boston Miscellany,” and we now learn, that Mr. Sargent, finding the field so well occupied, has retired from the contest, and sold his list to Mr. Graham. The subscribers of “Sargent's New Monthly,” will hereafter be served with Graham's Magazine, and will be losers in no respect by the change, Mr. G. having engaged nearly every writer of merit to contribute to the Magazine.

NOTE: The Boston Miscellany, a monthly published by Bradbury &Soden, had expired with its February, 1843, number; Sargent's Magazine, a New York monthly edited by Epes Sargent, had lasted for only six numbers, from January [page 570:] through June, 1843. Not every Philadelphian applauded George R. Graham's predominance among American magazine publishers; George Lippard attacked him in the July 12 and 26 installments of “The Spermaceti Papers.”

JUNE 17: The Saturday Courier, p. 2, col. 5, reports: “The Committee have awarded the prize of $100, offered by the Dollar Newspaper, for the best Tale, to EDGAR A. POE, Esq., for a story entitled ‘The Gold Bug,’ which is said to be every way worthy his high reputation.”

JUNE 19: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 2, announces the results of the prize story contest held by the Dollar Newspaper:

AWARD OF PRIZES. — Some few months ago, the publishers of the “Dollar Newspaper” offered their prizes, amounting in the aggregate to $200, for the three best tales for that paper. The Committee to award the prizes was composed of the following gentlemen: — R. T. Conrad, Esq., H. S. Patterson, M.D., and W. L. Lane, and in order that they should not be influenced by names, those of the writers were withheld from the Committee.

These gentlemen, after a full examination of the various stories submitted to them, have made the following award: — The prize of $100 to the tale entitled “The Gold,” ,” written by E. A. Poe, Esq.; the second prize, of 60, to the “Banker's Daughter,” by Robert Morris, Esq.; the third prize, of $40, to “Marrying for Money,” by a lady in New York, whose name does not accompany her production; she is known as a contributor to several of the magazines by initials only.

NOTE: This article apparently represents the first “official” announcement of the contest results by the publishers. The Ledger was issued by the same firm as the Dollar Newspaper, and it consequently provided full coverage of the publication and reception of “The Gold-Bug.” The members of the [page 571:] Committee which selected Poe's tale are identified in the directory.

JUNE 19: Robert Carter writes Poe. He encloses the Boston Notion for April 29, which contains an abridgment he has made of the Saturday Museum sketch of Poe's life and writings: “I was absent from the city when it [the abridgment] was printed and did not see the proof; consequently it is full of atrocious errors.” James Russell Lowell has almost entirely recovered from his eye ailment: “About a fortnight since he began to scribble vigorously and has within that period written about a thousand lines.” Carter discusses The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, which he has read for the first time within the past week:

I lent it [Pym] to a friend who lives in the house with me, and who is a lawyer, a graduate of Harvard, and a brother of Dr. O. W. Holmes, yet he is so completely deceived by the minute accuracy of some of the details, the remarks about the statements of the press, the names of people at New Bedford,&c. that, though an intelligent and shrewd man he will not be persuaded that it is a fictitious work, by any arguments drawn from the book itself . ... I dislike to tell him that I know it to be fictitious, for to test its truthfulness I gave it to him without remark and he has so committed himself by grave criticisms on its details that I dread to undeceive him. He has crossed the Atlantic twice and commented on an inaccuracy in the description of Pym's midnight voyage with his drunken friend. I have not the book in the house and knowing nothing of the sea, did not clearly comprehend the objection, but I think it was upon setting a “jib” or some such thing upon a dismasted sloop — I know that the words “jib,” “sloop” &”only one mast” occurred in his remarks.

NOTE: Works, XVII, 146-48.

ANTE JUNE 20: The Poe family moves to a small house on North Seventh Street, above Spring Garden Street. [page 572:]

NOTE: The first evidence of the family's departure from the Fairmount district is provided by Poe's June 20 letter to James Russell Lowell. McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1844, p. 250, lists: “Poe E. A., editor, 7th ab S Garden[.]” In her Poe, I, 820-31, Phillips included an illustration of the Spring Garden house as it probably appeared when Poe lived there, and she published several reminiscences of his neighbors. The house, which is now numbered 530 North Seventh Street, is the only one of Poe's Philadelphia residences still in existence; it is maintained as a memorial to him.

ANTE JUNE 20: Rosalie Poe writes her brother Edgar, informing him of a request from Miss Lucy D. Henry for his autograph.

NOTE: This entry is implied by Poe's June 20 letter to Miss Henry.

JUNE 20: Poe writes Miss Lucy D. Henry: “It gives me pleasure to comply with the very flattering request contained in your letter to my sister of March 26th.”

NOTE: Letters, I, 234. According to Ostrom, Miss Henry was the granddaughter of Patrick Henry; she had “an ardent desire to possess the autographs of writers of her time.” Presumably, she requested Poe's autograph in her March 26 letter to Rosalie.

JUNE 20: Poe replies to James Russell Lowell:

I owe you fifty apologies for not having written you before — but sickness and domestic affliction will suffice for all.

I received your poem, which you undervalue, and which I think truly beautiful — as, in fact, I do all you have ever written — but, alas! my Magazine scheme [page 573:] has exploded — or, at least, I have been deprived, through the imbecility, or rather through the idiocy of my partner, of all means of prosecuting it for the present. Under better auspices I may resume it next year.

What am I to do with the poem? I have handed it to Griswold, subject to your disposition.

My address is 234, North Seventh St above Spring Garden, West Side. Should you ever pay a visit to Philadelphia, you will remember that there is no one in America whom I would rather hold by the hand than yourself.

NOTE: Letters, I, 234-35. In his May 16 letter Lowell had enclosed a “little poem” for The Stylus, but expressed a fear that Poe would be “disappointed therein.” Information on Thomas C. Clarke's withdrawal from Poe's magazine project is entered in the chronology for June 3, 1843. Poe gave Lowell's poem to Rufus W. Griswold because the Boston poet was a regular contributor to Graham's Magazine.

JUNE 20: Poe writes John Tomlin, informing him that The Stylus has been postponed.

NOTE: The contents of. this letter are surmised from Tomlin's July 2 reply.

JUNE 21: In The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 133) George Lippard publishes an editorial on “American Literature,” asking his readers whether he should identify the journals and editors satirized in “The Spermaceti Papers”

Shall we step forth boldly, and call this Magazine Charlatan by name — this Weekly Newspaper humbug by his proper designation? . ...

We will avoid personalities. A Yankee preacher may edit one of our Magazines, and be the “author” of our “Poets,” but we will not whisper a word of his former Bedouin career. A cast-off lawyer, may issue his Blue Book, tinctured with mingled imbecility, pseudo-morality, and pregnant with positive trash, but we will not “pillory” him for the “general eye.”

[page 574:]

Let them pass, the herd of pretenders.

NOTE: The “personalities” Lippard had in mind were Rufus W. Griswold, editor of Graham's Magazine, and Charles J. Peterson, a Philadelphia lawyer who published the Lady's World of Fashion.

JUNE 21: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 2, announces the publication of “The Gold-Bug”:

ONE HUNDRED- DOLLAR PRIZE STORY. —”The Dollar Newspaper” for this week, this day published, contains the prize story of “THE GOLD BUG,” written by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., which is pronounced, by every man of taste who has read it, a production of superior merit. For ourselves, we never read a fiction that in its plot runs more in the line of probability, and consequently never one that more closely rivetted [sic ] our attention from its opening to its close; and this, as much from the fact that, as we read, we frequently found ourselves yielding to it credence as a matter of fact, as that the several incidents are in themselves highly interesting and the whole story chastely written. ... .

NOTE: The June 21 issue of the Dollar Newspaper contained the first installment of Poe's tale; the concluding installment appeared in the June 28 issue. “The Gold-Bug” was by far the most popular of his stories. In. his May 28, 1844, letter to James Russell Lowell (Letters, I, 253), Poe stated: “Of the ‘Gold-Bug’ (my most successful tale) more than 300,000 copies have been circulated.” This circulation claim may not be greatly exaggerated. The Dollar Newspaper published at least four editions of “The Gold-Bug,” which was also reprinted in its entirety by Robert Morris’ Pennsylvania Inquirer, a daily newspaper, and by the Saturday Courier, another weekly newspaper with a large circulation; information on these six printings may be found in the chronology for June 24, 28, 29, 30, and July 4, 12, 14, 1843. The Saturday Museum published an abridged version [page 575:] on July 8. The story was sufficiently popular to merit dramatization by Silas S. Steele, a Philadelphia playwright (see the chronology for August 5, 8, 1843). One sign of its success seems to be the fact that Poe was accused of plagiarism and of collusion with the Committee which selected the prize stories; for information on these controversies, see the chronology for June 27 and July 1, 1843. George Lippard commented on “The Gold-Bug” in the June 28 issue of The Citizen Soldier; Thomas C. Clarke evaluated the Tale's merits in the July 8 issue of the Saturday Museum.

JUNE 21: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 1, notices the Dollar Newspaper: “The number of this weekly for to-day, is unusually rich. It contains the first part of ‘The Gold Bug,’ a Prize Story, by E. A. Poe, Esq.[,] illustrated by an engraving. ... . Single copies may be obtained at the S.W. corner of Third and Chesnut streets.”

NOTE: The Dollar Newspaper illustrated each installment of “The Gold-Bug” with an engraving by Felix O. C. Darley. His designs were reproduced in the Saturday Courier, July 8, p. 1, cols. 5-6, and p. 4, cols. 1-2; both may be seen in Phillips’ Poe, I, 790-91. The offices of the Dollar Newspaper and the Public Ledger were located in the Ledger Building at the southwest corner of Third and Chestnut Streets.

JUNE 22: In The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 4, John S. Du Solle comments on Poe's new story: “We forgot to notice the ‘Dollar Newspaper’ yesterday, with its new prize tale by our friend Poe, entitled the ‘Gold Bug.’ The story is illustrated by an engraving, and is highly praised. I^Je shall read it attentively, and advise others to ‘go and [page 576:] do likewise.’ The ‘Dollar’ is a cheap and an excellent weekly.”

JUNE 22: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 3, reports:

A GREAT RUSH FOR THE PRIZE STORY! — As largely as the publishers provided for the supposed demand for “The Dollar Newspaper,” containing the prize story of “THE GOLD-BUG,” written by Mr. Poe, the rush to obtain the paper yesterday greatly exceeded their expectation, and there is every probability that they will have forthwith to republish it. We have et to meet the first man who has read it, that [sic ] does not pronounce it a production of superior merit — one, which, besides being finely written, possesses more the air of truth than any we have ever read. ... .

JUNE 24: The Saturday Courier, p. 2, col. 2, comments: “We give to-day,. the first part of Mr. Poe's Prize Tale. The conclusion will be immediately published, and will be sought for with great interest.”

NOTE: “The Gold-Bug” was reprinted in three installments; see the Courier, June 24, p. 3, cols. 46; July 1, p. 1, cols. 6-8, p. 2, col. l; and July 8, p. 1, cols. 5-8, p. 4, cols. 1-2. Apparently, Ezra Holden and Andrew McMakin, the publishers of the Saturday Courier, had reached an agreement with A. H. Simmons &Co., the publishers of the Dollar Newspaper, whereby they were permitted to reprint the three prize stories. On July 15 the Courier, p. 1, cols. 48, p. 2, col. 1, published the second story, “The Banker's Daughter” by Robert Morris. The third story, “Marrying for Money” by “F. E. F.,” appeared in the July 22 issue of the Courier, p. 1, cols. 48, p. 2, col. 1.

JUNE 24: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 4, reports:

THE PRIZE STORY OF THE GOLD-BUG. —”The Dollar Newspaper” of this week, containing this capital story, [page 577:] has been in unexampled request, and notwithstanding the large extra edition printed, the supply is nearly exhausted, and the publishers will probably be compelled to put the story to press in pamphlet form. With the view of protecting their own interest in this respect, they have taken out a COPY RIGHT for the Tale, and will endeavor to supply the public demand for it, be it ever so large.

NOTE: There is no evidence that the publishers of the Dollar Newspaper issued “The Gold-Bug” in pamphlet form.

JUNE 27: The Philadelphia Daily Forum, p. 2, col. 5, publishes an anonymous communication:

We give place to the following, but at the same time feel convinced that perfect fairness must have been used in the distribution of prizes, as the character of the Committee precludes any possibility of collusion.


The “Gold Bug” — A Decided Humbug.

We have no hesitation in stating the fact, that humbug beyond all question is at last the “Philosopher's stone,” in the discovery of which so many geniuses have heretofore been bewildered. In this opinion we are more fully confirmed by the recent literary production entitled the “Gold Bug,” which has been paraded in flourishing capitals by the publishers of the “Dollar Magazine,” [sic ] and pronounced by them as the most entertaining and superbly written “prize tale” of modern times! That “one hundred dollars” was paid for this signal abortion we believe to be an arrant falsehood, and in this sentiment we are not singular, for several of our friends who have read the portion which has already appeared, pronounce upon it the verdict of unmitigated trash! We are inclined to think that ten or fifteen dollars satisfied “the talented Edgar A. Poe, Esq.” for this excruciating effort in the tale line.

In the publication of this unique affair, the proprietors of the “Dollar Magazine” know how to give the public “two bites of a cherry[”]; but they will find it a very difficult task to point out hereafter even “the man in a claret coat “ who has read the second [page 578:] part of the “Gold Bug.” The writer threw away three cents in the purchase of the commencement of the tale, but will be exceedingly careful in not getting blistered by the ensuing dose of cantharides, which is usually made out of Gold Bugs. The public are little aware of the humbug heretofore practised in this “prize tale” business. We are indebted to a friend who obtained several of these kind [sic ]

of prizes, for the method in which it is accomplished. It is to this effect: the publisher announces with a grand flourish the literary tournament, and after having pranced about a while on his pegasus, induces a number of really meritorious writers to enter the lists and compete for the nominal prize, which has all the appearance at first of a “Gold Bug,” but is certain to eventuate in a humbug! The period at length arrives for the distribution, when sure enough some “youth unknown to fame” is knighted and bears off the palm of victory, merely “to save expense” and because his name is well known to the reading community a[s] “a talented man.” This is not an overwrought picture, for let it be distinctly understood that the writer of this has never had “a kink in his tale,” and consequently can feel no jealousy, but merely vents his indignation in relation to as great a literary humbug as was ever placed before the reading community. “Having cast the first stone,” mark our prediction if this “Gold Bug” is not generally pronounced unworthy of existence in literature.


NOTE: The author of this communication, who signed himself only with the initial “D,” was Francis H. Duffee, a minor Philadelphia journalist and playwright. The controversy initiated by his caustic innuendo has been briefly discussed by William Henry Gravely, Jr., “An Incipient Libel Suit Involving Poe,” Modern Language Notes, 40 (1945), 308-11. Gravely's account is not exhaustive; he did not consult The Spirit of the Times for June and July, 1843, or the Daily Forum for July, 1843. Both these newspapers played an important role in this dispute. For additional information, see the chronology for circa June 28, June 29, 30, July 1, 4, 6, 14, 24, 25, 27, 1843. [page 579:]

CIRCA JUNE 28: Poe institutes legal proceedings against Francis H. Duffee.

NOTE: This dating is suggested by a report in The Spirit of the Times on June 29. Several articles published in the Public Ledger on July 4, and in the Daily Forum on July 6 and July 25, establish that it was Poe himself, not the publishers of the Dollar Newspaper, who threatened Duffee with legal action. There is some evidence that Poe's attorney in his libel suit was Henry B. Hirst (see the chronology for July 19, 27, 1843).

JUNE 28: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 4, advises its readers:

DON’T BE DISAPPOINTED — Those who, by delay, were last week disappointed in obtaining a copy of “The Dollar Newspaper,” in consequence of the large supply having been early exhausted, will take care this week to call early and secure a copy. It contains the conclusion of that excellent prize story, “The Gold-Bug,” the merits of which we spoke fully last week. The public demand for the paper bears out all that we have said of the Tale. All who have read it through, so far as we have heard it spoken of, pronounce it superior to any American production that they ever before read. The interest given to the story in working up the mystery to the point at which it stopped last week, is successfully maintained to the conclusion in elucidating it. ... .

NOTE: In his “Gleanings in the Bibliography of Poe,” 268, Killis Campbell stated that the June 28 issue of the Dollar Newspaper contained Poe's story “in its entirety.” The Ledger's report suggests that this issue contained only “the conclusion” of “The Gold-Bug,” the first installment having appeared the week before. The issue containing the entire story which Campbell examined may have been the “extra” mentioned by the Pennsylvania Inquirer on June 29, or the “second edition” mentioned by the Public Ledger on June 30 [page 580:] (see the chronology for these dates). The Inquirer's report seems to indicate that the June 28 issue of the Dollar Newspaper, containing “the conclusion of the ‘GOLD BUG,” and the “extra,” containing the “entire story,” were both offered for sale on Wednesday, June 28. The “extra” may also have been dated June 28; it was probably identical to the “second edition” mentioned by the Ledger on June 30.

JUNE 28: In The Citizen Soldier (Vol. 1, p. 140) George Lippard comments on “The Gold-Bug” and the “contemptible ‘Prize Story’ humbug”:

THE DOLLAR NEWSPAPER. — A capital sheet. The “Gold-bug, a Prize Story,” by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., is written in the most popular style of the gifted author, characterised by thrilling interest and a graphic though sketchy power of description. It is one of the best stories that Poe ever wrote. And with regard to the matter of the “Prize,” it is a humbug — a transparent, gauze-lace, cobweb-tissue humbug. The public well know that name and not merit, constitute the criterion of the board of secret critics. Were William Shakspeare to write a “Prize Story,” under an anonymous signature, in a disguised hand; were Walter Scott to enter into competition for the “cool hundred,” hand and name also disguised; were Bulwer to send one of his first productions, nameless and “unmarked for the secret eye of the board,” Shakspeare, Scott and Bulwer would vanish, we trow, before T. S. Arthur, or some other amiable young man, whose name has been stereotyped by the magazine puffs of the day. We believe the whole “Prize system,” take it as you will, to be a fraud on the public. The idea that the board of judges do not know the hand writing of all literary men of celebrity, is — with respect we say it — all fudge. In such a system, the man of notoriety has all the chances — the man of genius none. However, with regard to Mr. Poe, we can have but one opinion. This story is worth the “Prize money,” ten times told. It is not against the men we war, but against the transparent fraud of this contemptible “Prize Story” humbug. [page 581:]

JUNE 29: The Spirit of the Times, p. 2, col. 2, reports: “We learn that an action for damages has been brought against Mr. F. H. Duffee, No. 3 South Third street, for publishing a communication in the Forum, in which it was insinuated that the publishers of the Dollar Newspaper had defrauded the public, by paying that talented writer, Edgar A. Poe, Esq., $15 for his admirable tale of the ‘Gold Bug,’ instead of paying the prize of $100, as announced, to

the author of the best production offered them.”

JUNE 29: The Pennsylvania Inquirer, p. 2, col. 5, reports:

Poe's Prize Story.

“The Dollar Newspaper” of yesterday, in addition to much other good matter, contains the conclusion of the “GOLD BUG,” a Prize Story written by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., which has excited much attention. The entire story, printed in an extra, may be obtained at the office of the “Newspaper,” S.W. corner of 3d and Chesnut streets. A large edition will no doubt be called for.

JUNE 30: The Public Ledger, p. 2, col. 4, reports:

THE GOLD-BUG. — A second edition of “The Dollar Newspaper,” containing the whole of this prize story, as written by Mr. POE, has been published and will be for sale to-day at the counter of the Ledger office. The story is illustrated with two finely executed engravings, and the paper, besides containing another excellent story, by Willis, with much other news matter, is afforded at THREE CENTS per copy, with or without wrappers. The prize story, in every direction, elicits unqualified commendation.





[S:0 - PIP, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Poe in Philadelphia, 1838-1844 (D. R. Thomas) (Chapter 07, Part 01)