Text: Edgar Allan Poe to James Russell Lowell — October 28, 1844 (LTR-185)


New-York: Oct. 28. 44.

My Dear Friend,

A host of small troubles growing from the one trouble of poverty, but which I will not trouble you with in detail, have hitherto prevented me from thanking you for the Biography and all the well intended flatteries which it contains. But, upon the principle of better late than never, let me thank you now, again and again. I sent it to Graham on the day I received it — taking with it only one liberty in the way of modification. This I hope you will pardon. It was merely the substitution of another brief poem for the last you have done me the honor to quote.

I have not seen your marriage announced, but I presume from what you said in your penultimate letter, that I may congratulate you now. Is it so? At all events I can wish you no better wish than that you may derive from your marriage as substantial happiness as I have derived from mine.

A long time ago I wrote you a long letter to which you have never replied. It concerned a scheme for protecting ourselves from the imposition of publishers by a coalition. I will state it again in brief. Suppose a dozen of the most active or influential men of letters in this country, should unite for the purpose of publishing a Magazine of high character. Their names to be kept secret, that their mutual support might be the more effectual. Each member to take a share of the stock at $100 a share. [page 2:] Each, if required, to furnish one article each month — the work to be sustained altogether by the contributions of the members, or by unpaid contributions from others. As many of the members as possible to be taken from those connected otherwise with the press: — a black-ball to exclude any one suggested as a member by those already conjoined — this to secure unanimity — These, of course, are mere hints in the rough. But suppose that (the scheme originating with yourself & me) we write to any others or, seeing them personally, engage them in the enterprize. The desired number being made up, a meeting might be held, and a constitution framed. A point in this latter might be that an editor should be elected periodically from among the stockholders.

The advantages of such a coalition seem to me very great. The Magazine could be started with a positive certainty of success. There would be no expense for contributions, while we would have the best. Plates, of course, would be disdained. The aim would be to elevate without stupifying our literature — to further justice — to resist foreign dictation — and to afford (in the circulation & profit of the journal) a remuneration to ourselves for whatever we should write.

The work should be printed in the very best manner, and should address the aristocracy of talent. We might safely give, for $5, a pamphlet of 128 pp. and, with the support of the variety of our personal influence, we might easily extend the circulation to 20,000 — giving $ 100,000 The expenses would not exceed $40,000 - if indeed they reached 20,000 when the work should be fairly established. Thus there would be $60,000 to be divided among 12 - $5000 per an: apiece.

I have thought of this matter long and cautiously, and am persuaded that there would be little difficulty in doing even far more than I have ventured to suggest.

Do you hear anything more about the Lectures?

Truly Yours.
E A Poe





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. R. Lowell (LTR185/RCL504)