Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Joseph M. Field — June 15, 1846 (LTR-233)


New-York: June 15 , — 46.

Dear Field,

I have frequently seen in “The Reveille” notices of myself, evincing a kindly feeling on your part which, believe me, I reciprocate in the most cordial manner. This conviction of your friendship induces me now to beg a favor of you. I enclose an article from “The New-York Mirror” of May 26 th. headed “Mr Poe and the N. Y. Literati” The attack is editorial & the editor is Hiram Fuller. He was a schoolmaster, about 3 years ago, in Providence, and was forced to leave that city on account of several swindling transactions in which he was found out. As soon as Willis & Morris discovered the facts, they abandoned “The Mirror”, perferring to leave it in his hands rather than keep up so disreputable a connexion. This Fuller ran off with the daughter of a respectable gentleman in this city & was married. The father met the couple in the Park theatre (the Park, I think) and was so carried away by indignation at the disgrace inflicted upon his family by the marriage, that he actually struck Mrs Fuller repeated blows in the face with his clenched fist — the husband looking calmly on, and not even attempting to interfere. I pledge you the honor of a gentleman that I have not exaggerated these facts in the slightest degree. They are here notorious.

All that I venture to ask of you in the case of this attack, however, is to say a few words in condemnation of it, and to do away with the false impression of my personal appearance * it may convey, in those parts of the country where I am not individually known. You have seen me and can describe me as I am. Will you do me this act of justice, and influence one or two of your editorial friends to do the same? I know you will.

[*] I am 33 years of age — height 5 ft. 8. (over) [page 2:]

I think the “N. O. Picayune”, which has always been friendly to me, will act in concert with you.

There is, also, an incidental service of great importance, just now, which you have it in your power to render me. That is, to put the following, editorially, in your paper:

>>The British literary journals are admitting Mr Poe's merits, in the most unequivocal manner<<. A long and highly laudatory review of his tales, written by Martin Farquhar Tupper, author of “Proverbial Philosophy”, “The Crock of Gold” etc., appeared in a late number of “The London Literary Gazette”. “The Athenaeum,” “The British Critic,[”] “The Spectator”, “The Popular Record” “Chureon's Literary Register”, and various ocher journals, scientific as well as literary, have united in approbation of Tales & Poems. “The Raven” is copied in full in the “British Critic” and “The Athenaeum”. “The Times” — the matter of face “Times!” — copies the “Valdemar Case”. The world's greatest poetess, Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, says of Mr Poe: —”This vivid writing! — this power which is felt! ‘The Raven’ has produced a sensation — a ‘fit horror’ — here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music — but all are taken. I hear of persons absolutely haunted by the ‘Nevermore’, and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a ‘bust of Pallas’ never can bear to look at it in the twilight. Our great poet, Mr Browning, the author of ‘Paracelsus’, ‘The Pomegranates’ etc. is enthusiastic in his admiration of the rhythm.”

After all this, Mr Poe may possibly make up his mind to endure the disapprobation of >>one Hiram Fuller<< the editor of the Mirror. >>and other<<.

Miss Barrett continues: —”Then there is a tale of his which I do not find in this volume, but which is going the rounds of the newspapers, about Mesmerism (The Valdemar [page 3:] case) throwing us all into ‘most admired disorder’, or dreadful doubts as to ‘whether it can be true’.... The certain thing in the tale in question is the power of the writer and the faculty he has of making horrible improbabilities seem near & familiar.”

If you can oblige me in this case, you may depend on my most earnest reciprocation when where & how you please.

P.S. Please cut out anything you may say and en[close] i]t to me in a letter. A newspaper wil[1] not be [li]kely to reach me.

I have been very seriously ill for some months * and, being thus utterly unable to defend myself, must rely upon the chivalry of my friends. Fuller knows of my illness & >>reli [relies]<< depends upon it for his security. I have never said a word about the vagabond in my life. Some person, I presume, has hired him to abuse me.

Cordially yours
Edgar A Poe.

* — am now scarcely able to write even this letter —





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. M. Field (LTR233/RCL636)