Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Daniel Bryan — July 6, 1842 (LTR-139)


Philadelphia, July 6. 1842.

My Dear Sir,

Upon my return from a brief visit to New-York, a day or two since, I found your kind and welcome letter of June 27.

What you say in respect to “verses” enclosed to myself has occasioned me some surprise. I have certainly received none. My connexion with “Graham’s Magazine” ceased with the May number, which was completed by the 1st of April — since which period the editorial conduct of the journal has rested with Mr Griswold. You observe that the poem was sent about three weeks since. Can it be possible that the present editors have thought it proper to open letters addressed to myself, because addressed to myself as “Editor of Graham’s Magazine”? I know not how to escape from this conclusion; and now distinctly remember that, although in the habit of receiving many letters daily, before quitting the office, I have not received more than a half dozen during the whole period since elapsed; and none of those received were addressed to me as “Editor of G’s Magazine”. What to say or do in a case like this I really do not know. I have no quarrel with either Mr Graham or Mr Griswold — although I hold neither in especial respect. I have much aversion to communicate with them in any way, and, perhaps, it would be best that you should address them yourself, demanding the MS.

Many thanks for your kind wishes. I hope the time is not far distant when they may be realized. I am making earnest although secretexertions to resume my project of the “Penn Magazine”, and have every confidence that I shall succeed in issuing the first number on the first of January. [page 2:] You may remember that it was my original design to issue it on the first of January 1841. I was induced to abandon the project at that period by the representations of Mr Graham. He said that if I would join him as a salaried editor, giving up, for the time, my own scheme, he himself would unite with me at the expiration of 6 months, or certainly at the end of a year. As Mr G. was a man of capital and I had no money, I thought it most prudent to fall in with his views. The result has proved his want of faith and my own folly. In fact, I was continually laboring against myself. Every exertion made by myself for the benefit of “Graham”, by rendering that Mag: a greater source of profit, rendered its owner, at the same time, less willing to keep his word with me. At the time of our bargain (a verbal one) he had 6000 subscribers — when I left him he had more than 40,000. It is no wonder that he has been tempted to leave me in the lurch.

I had nearly 1000 subscribers with which to have started the “Penn”, and, with these as a beginning, it would have been my own fault had I failed. There may be still 3 or 4 hundred who will stand by me, of the old list, and, in the interval between this period and the first of January, I will use every endeavor to procure others. You are aware that, in my circumstances, a single name, in advance, isworth ten after the issue of the book; for it is upon my list of subscribers that I must depend for the bargain to be made with a partner possessing capital, or with a publisher. If, therefore, you can aid me in Alexandria, with even a single name, I shall feel deeply indebted to your friendship.

I feel that now isthe time to strike. The delay, after all, will do me no injury. My conduct of “Graham” has rendered me better and (I hope) more favorably known than [page 3:] before. I am anxious, above all things, to render the journal one in which the true,in contradistinction from the merely factitious,genius of the country shall be represented. I shall yield nothing to great names — nor to the circumstances of position. I shall make war to the knife against the New-England assumption of “all the decency and all the talent” which has been so disgustingly manifested in the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold’s “Poets & Poetry of America”. But I am boring you with my egotism.

May I hope to hear from you in reply?

I am with sincere respect & esteem,

Yr Obt Sert
Edgar A Poe.

Danl Bryan Esqre

P.S. I have not seen the “attack” to which you have [re-]ference.

Could it have been in a Philadelphia paper[?]





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to D. Bryan (LTR139/RCL377)