Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Allan — March 19, 1827 (LTR-005)


Richmond   Monday


After my treatment on yesterday and what passed between us this morning, I can hardly think you will be surprised at the contents of this letter. My determination is at length taken — to leave your house and indeavor [[sic]] to find some place in this wide world, where I will be treated — not as you have treated me —

This is not a hurried determination, but one on which I have long considered — and having so considered my resolution is unalterable — You may perhaps think that I have flown off in a passion, & that I am already wishing to return; But not so — I will give you the reasons which have actuated me, and then judge —

Since I have been able to think on any subject, my thoughts have aspired, and they have been taught by you to aspire, to eminence in public life — this cannot be attained without a good Education, such a one I cannot obtain at a Primary school — [page 2:]

A collegiate Education therefore was what I most ardently desired, and I had been led to expect that it would at some future time be granted — but in a moment of caprice — you have blasted my hope <sed> because forsooth I disagreed with you in an opinion, which opinion I was forced to express —

Again, I have heard you say (when you little thought I was listening <)> and therefore must have said it in earnest) that you had no affection for me —

You have moreover ordered me to quit your house, and are continually upbraiding me with eating the bread of Idleness, when you yourself <m> were the only person to remedy the evil by placing me to some business —

You take delight in exposing me before those whom you think likely to advance my interest in this world —

You suffer me to be subjected to the whims & caprice, not only of your white family, but the [page 3:] complete authority of the blacks — these grievances I could not submit to; and I am gone[.] I request that you will send me my trunk containing my clothes & books — and if you still have the least affection for me, As the last cal[l] I shall make on your bounty, To prevent the fulfillment of the Prediction you this morning expressed, send me as much money as will defray <my> the expences of my passage to some of the Northern cit[i]es & then support me for one month, by whic[h] time I shall be enabled to place myself [in] some situation where I may not only o[bt]ain a livelihood, but lay by a sum which one day or another will support me at the University — Send my trunk &c to the Court-house Tavern, send me I entreat you some money immediately — as I am in the greatest necessity — If you fail to comply with my request — I tremble for the consequence

Yours &c
Edgar A Poe

It depends upon yourself if hereafter you see or hear from me[.]



This letter is printed here with permission from the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. A photographic facsimile of this letter was published in Mary Newton Stanard, Edgar Allan Poe Letters Till Now Unpublished in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1925.


[S:0 - MS, 1826] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. Allan (LTR005/RCL012)