Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Nicholas Biddle — January 6, 1841 (LTR-106a)


Mr. N. Biddle,
Philadelphia, January 6. 1841.

Dear Sir,

On account of a world of difficulties which I have had to encounter, not the least of which has been a severe illness, confining me to bed for the last six weeks, I have been forced to postpone the issue of the first number of my proposed Magazine until the first of March. At this period, however, I hope to bring it out under the best auspices.

As usual in most undertakings like my own, I have met with success in the very quarters where I least expected it, and have failed altogether where I was confident of doing well. My cousins in Augusta, who had led me to hope that they would aid me materially, have been unable to do so, and could not even obtain me a few subscribers in that place. On the other hand I have received a great many names from villages, in the South and West, of whose existence even I was not aware. Upon the whole I have every reason to congratulate myself upon my good fortune.

The kind manner in which you received me when I called upon you at Andalusia — upon so very equivocal an errand — has emboldened me to ask of you a still greater favor than the one you then granted; but I frankly confess that my hope of obtaining it is but faint. I have no earthly claim upon your attention; and am not sure that either the struggles I am making for independence, or the obstacles in my path, or any thing I have yet accomplished in the world of literature, have excited the slightest interest in your bosom. Still, you may possibly be disposed to grant my request; and therefore I cannot feel that I have done all in my power until I make it.

The favor I would ask is that you would lend me the influence of your name in a brief article for my opening number.

I need not suggest to you, as a man of the world, the great benefit I would derive from your obliging me in this matter. Without friends in Philadelphia, except among literary men as uninfluential as myself, I would at once be put in a good position — I mean in respect to that all important point, caste — by having it known that you were not indifferent to my success. You will not accuse me of intending the meanness of flattery to serve as a selfish purpose, when I say that your name has an almost illimitable influence in the city, and a vast influence in all quarters of the country, and that, would you allow me its use as I propose, it would be of more actual value to me in my enterprise than perhaps a thousand dollars in money — this too more especially as the favor thus granted would be one you are not in the habit of granting.

I shall look for your reply to this letter with deep anxiety, yet not altogether without hope — for I have heard and do believe that you are generous.

With high respect and very gratefully
Yr Ob. St.
Edgar A Poe.





[S:0 - MS, 1843] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to N. Biddle (LTR106a/RCL265b)