Text: Edgar Allan Poe to William Poe — August 14, 1840 (LTR-097)


Philadelphia, Aug. 15 [[14]] — 40.

Dear William,

Owing to a temporary absence from town I did not receive your welcome letter of the 28th July until this morning. [I n]ow hasten to reply; and in the first place let me assur[e y]ou that, if I have not lately written, it is rather because I have been overwhelmed by worldly cares, which left me scarce a moment for thought, than that I do not feel for you the kindest affection, as well as deep gratitude for the services yourself and brothers have so often rendered me.

Herewith I send you a Prospectus of my contemplated Magazine. I believe you know that my connexion with the Southern Messenger was merely that of editor. I had no proprietary interest in it, and my movements were therefore much impeded[.] The situation was disagree[a]ble to me in every respect. The drudgery was excessive; the salary was contemptible. In fact I soon found that whatever reputation I might personally gain, this reputation would be all. I stood no chance of bettering my pecuniary condition, while my best energies were wasted in the service of an illiterate and vulgar, although well-meaning man, who had neither the capacity to appreciate my labors, nor the will to reward them. For these reasons I left him, and entered, first, into an engagement with The New-York Review, and afterwards with The Gentleman's Mag[a]zine, writing occasionally for [other] journals; my object be[in]g merely to keep my head a[bove] water, as regards money, until a good opportunity sh[owed itself] of establishing a Magazine of my own, in which I sho[uld be] able to carry out my plans to full completion, and d[uring this] time have the satisfaction of feeling that my exertions w[ould be] to my own advantage.

I believe that the plans I here speak of, and some of [them you] will find detailed in the Prospectus, are well devised [. . . . sug]gested, and will meet with the hearty support of the m[ore desi]rable and intelligent portion of the community. Should [I be] able to bring them fairly be[f]ore the public I feel assured [that my] fortune is made. The ambition which actuates me [is] now to be no ordinary nor unworthy sentiment, and, knowing this, I take pride in earnestly soliciting your support, and that of your brothers and friends. If I fully succeed in my purposes I will not fail to produce some lasting effect upon the growing literature of the country, while I establish for myself individually a name which that country “will not willingly let die.”

It is upon the South that I chiefly rely for aid in the undertaking, and I have every hope that it will not fail me [page 2:] in my need. Yet the difficulties which I have to overcome are great, and I acknowledge to you that my prospects depend very much upon getting together a subscription list previously to the 1st of December. If, by this day, I can obtain 500 names, the w[or]k cannot fail to proceed, and I have no fear for the [resu]lt.

The friendship you have always evinced, the near relationship which exists between us, and the kind offer in your last letter, all warrant me in hoping that you will exert your whole influence for me in Augusta. Will you oblige me by acting as my agent for the Penn Magazine in your city, this letter being your authority? If I am not mistaken you already act in that capacity for the Messenger.

I will write a few lines also by this mail to your brother Robert, with a Prospectus as you suggest — and also to Washington at Macon.

Mrs Clemm, my aunt, is still living with me, but for the last six weeks has been on a visit to a friend in the State of N. Jersey. She is quite well, having entirely recovered her health. Respecting the letter from Mr Bayard I am quite at a loss to understand it. It is, however, possible that the letter was written by Mr B. at a period when we were all in much difficulty in New-York & that Mrs C. concealed the circumstance from me through delicacy.

Yours truly
E A P.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to W. Poe (LTR097/RCL245)