Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Frederick W. Thomas — May 14, 1845 (LTR-198)


New-York — May. 14. 45.

My Dear Thomas,

Yours of the 12th has just reached me & I hasten to send you a translation of the cipher as desired — although I fancy it will turn out to be of no particular importance. It runs thus:

“In September 1843, our respected friend Colonel T. C. Gardner, auditor of the Post Office Department, applied at the Land Office with his warrant. His patent did not render it necessary to reside at the place.

Richard Douglas.

Lieutenant Brewster (or Shrewstead)

Brooklyn Long Island

25 September 1843.”

This cryptograph has been written by some barbarously ignorant person who spells “necessary” >>for<< [”]neseserri” “post office” “puwst ofis” “to” “tuw” <”Brooklyn” “Bruklin”> etc. His name is signed “Rithard Duglas.” You will perceive,, therefore, that absolute accuracy, in decyphering the cryptograph, is impossible — but I have made it as clear as such a letter would have been out of cypher. The words which follow “Lieutenant Brewster” I have not made out & although they may be “United States Marine”. If more accuracy is required, please forward the original. In copying, abundant errors seem to have been made.

I was delighted to hear from you. Do write soon again. (I have not seen Dow yet. Willis is well & going to England next month.) I will write you more fully in a day or two. Yours truly but in haste.


The obverse side of this letter carries the following note by F. W. Thomas: “A gentleman in the land office in Washington inspecting [???] in some papers in which he found a letter in cipher, and having heard me to get him to decipher it which I did. T.”





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to F. W. Thomas (LTR198/RCL537)