Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Frederick W. Thomas — November 23, 1840 (LTR-104)


Philadelphia, Novem. 23. 1840.

My Dear Thomas,

I only received yours of the 6th about an hour ago, having been out of town for the last ten days. Believe me, I was very glad to hear from you — for in truth I had given you up. I did not get the “Bulletin” you sent, but saw the notice at the Exchange. The “Bulletin” has always been very kind to me, and I am at a loss to know who edits it — will you let me into this secret when you write again? Neither did “Howard Pinkney” come to hand. Upon receipt of your letter, just now, I called at Congress Hall — but no books. Mr Bateman had been there, and gone, forgetting to leave them. I shall get them upon his return. Meantime, and long ago, I have read the novel, with its predecessors. I like H. P. very well — better than E & W. & not nearly so well as C. B. You give yourself up to your own nature (which is a noble one, upon my soul) in Clinton Bradshaw; but in Howard Pinkney you abandon the broad rough road for the dainty by-paths of authorism. In the former you are interested in what you write & write to please, pleasantly; in the latter, having gained a name, you write to maintain it, and [the] effort becomes apparent. This consciousness of reputation leads you so freq[uently] into those literary and other disquisitions about which we quarrelld at Studevant's. If you would send the public opinion to the devil, forgetting that a public existed, and writing from the natural promptings of your own spirit you would do wonders. In a word, abandon is wanting in “Howard Pinkney” — and when I say this you must know that I mean a high compliment — for they to whom this very abandon may be safely suggested are very few indeed, and belong to the loftier class of writers.

I would say more of “Howard Pinkney”; but nothing in the shape of criticism can be well said in petto, and I intend to speak fully of the novel in the first number of the Penn Magazine — which I am happy to say will appear in January. I may just observe now, however, that I pitied you when I saw the blunders, typographical, and Frostigraphical — although, to do Frost justice, I do not think he looked at the proofs at all.

Thank you a thousand times for your good wishes & kind offers.

I shall wait anxiously for the promised article. I should like to have it, if possible, in the first sheet, which goes to press early in December. But I know that I may depend upon you, and therefore say no more upon this head. For the rest, your own experience and friendship will suggest the modes by which you may serve me in St Louis. Perhaps you may be able to have the accompanying Prospectus (which you will see differs from the first) inserted once or twice in some of the city papers — if you can accomplish this without trouble I shall be greatly obliged to you.

Have you heard that that illustrious graduate of St John's College, Cambridge, (Billy Barlow,) has sold his Magazine to Graham, of the “Casket”?

Mrs Clemm and Virginia unite with me in the kindest remembrances to yourself and sister — with whom your conversation (always turning upon the “one-loved name”) has already made us all so well acquainted.

How long will it be before I see you again? Write immediately.

Yours most truly —





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to F. W. Thomas (LTR104/RCL260)