Text: Jacob Spannuth and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Appendix,” Doings of Gotham: Poe's Contributions to The Columbia Spy (1929), pp. 121-126 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 121:]



Bowen's Comments on Poe from the Columbia Spy

In order that the reader may see just what Bowen printed about Poe, we have copied out all the notices referring to the poet which appeared in the Spy during his editorial conduct of the paper. They are arranged chronologically, the date at the head of each item being that of the issue containing it.

Jan. 20, 1844.


Graham's Magazine for February, is on our table, and a splendid number it is too. Graham bears off the palm for February; he “anticipates every rival.” The present number is embellished with three splendid engravings, one of which is a portrait of Joseph C. Neal, Esq., editor of the Pennsylvanian and author of Charcoal Sketches (or, as Edgar A. Poe once termed them, Police Reports) accompanied by a sketch of his life by Morton McMichael, Esq. The contributions to this number are very excellent indeed.

April 20, 1844.

An extra, issued by the New York Sun on Saturday last, contains the particulars of a balloon voyage across the Atlantic, alleged to have been performed in three days, the news having been received by express from Charleston, where the balloon descended. The joke is an imitation of the moon hoax, published in the same paper several years since.

April 27, 1844.

[Poe's Tale of the Ragged Mountains is copied in the Spy.]

May 18, 1844.

Edgar A. Poe, Esq., well known to the Literary public as an eminent scholar and a distinguished critic, we are pleased to announce to our readers, will, in future, be a regular contributor to the Spy. Besides other matters, he will furnish us with a weekly “Corespondence [[Correspondence]]” from the City of New York, where he has taken up his residence for the present.

June 1, 1844.

The well-known Dr. Hawkes has been chosen Bishop of the diocese of Mississippi. Our friend, Mr. Poe, does not appear to place a very high estimate on his abilities, as will be seen by reference to his letter in to-day's paper. By the way, if the puffs [page 122:] of our contemporaries, etc., be any evidence, Mr. Poe's letters are the best things afloat at present.

June 22, 1844.

The Columbia Spy is the best Literary paper received at this office. Edgar A. Poe, Esq., is a regular contributor. — Waynesboro Circulator.

Very good —— very good, indeed, Mr. Circulator. We owe You one!

The Letter of our New York Correspondent arrived too late for insertion in to-day's paper.

Oct. 3, 1844.

Mr. Inman's Columbian Magazine for October is a superior number. It is embellished with two beautiful engravings, and is filled with literary matter of the highest excellence. We are gratified to see the name of our friend, Edgar A. Poe, Esq., among the contributors to this Magazine. Mr. Poe is one of the ablest and most original writers of the day. A capital article from his pen, entitled the “Angel of the Odd” (an odd title, by the way,) is contained in the number for the present month. The “Columbian” is second to no other Magazine published.


Texts of Documents Relating to the Purchase and Management of the Spy by Bowen and Gossler.

Dec. 9, 1843.


By the announcement below it will be seen that the subscribers have disposed of their interest in the “Columbia Spy” to Messrs. Bowen & Gossler, by whom in future it will be conducted. In taking leave, they desire to return their sincere thanks to their readers and the public, for the support received at their hands; and assure them that they feel deeply grateful for their aid. In particular, the senior editor of the Spy will ever hold in grateful remembrance the kind support which has been given him during a period of nearly four years. It is perhaps proper to state that the political conduct of the Spy, from that time to the present, has been under the sole charge of the senior Editor — who deeply regrets that adverse circumstances should render it inexpedient longer to continue its publication.

The gentlemen upon whom, in future, the responsibility of conducting it will devolve, design publishing a strictly neutral [page 123:] paper — it being believed that a journal espousing the cause of either of the great political parties, cannot meet with a fair remuneration in this neighborhood.



Columbia, Nov. 30th, 1843.

It will be perceived by the above notice, that the subscribers have assumed the proprietorship of the “Columbia Spy.” And as usual upon taking the “chair editorial,” we proceed to present to our readers, in as brief manner as possible, the motives that have induced us to change the political complexion of the Spy, and also the course which we hereafter intend to pursue in conducting it.

We believe, with very many, that the agitation of politics is justifiable, and, in some cases, necessary to the perpetuity and safety of our government; that the agitation of political questions by the people forms a prominent feature in our system of civil government; but we also believe, that politics and party strife has, of late, run to too high an extreme, that the professions of the majority of politicians are intended to advance their own interests rather than the interests of their country; that the anathemas hurled against one, by the members of the other party, both of which professing Republican principles, is neither calculated to advance the interests of the community, or the perpetuity of our free institutions.

To prove the correctness of what we have just stated, in regard to the feeling of disapprobation existing with the majority of the people, in relation to the present state of the political field, we have but to state that it is utterly impossible for any paper, advocating the claims of any of the distinguished individuals now before the people, in connection with the next Presidency, to exist for any length of time, in this place.

For these reasons, then, we have concluded to change the course of the Spy, and also that with which we have heretofore been connected, and, from no disrespect to either of the distinguished individuals whose claims these papers have heretofore advocated. The Spy, therefore, will hereafter be strictly neutral in Politics.

We shall endeavor to make the Spy an interesting Family Journal — a mirror through which all may look, and find something congenial to their own taste. Trusting that our connection with the Spy may prove pleasant and profitable, both to its readers and ourselves, we remain, etc.



[page 124:]

May 25, 1844.


The “Spy,” dear, kind, indulgent, intelligent, etc. reader, since we have assumed the chair editorielle has been getting along “any way and every way.” We “thank our stars” that we have been able to drag ourselves along for this length of time. We commenced with little, and if we end with less, no matter. No less will be the gratitude we feel for the encouragement that has been extended us, and should a storm of adversity chance to overtake us ere we complete the voyage of life, whilst we toss up our caps (it's natural to say caps: who ever heard of tossing up a hat?), and snap our fingers at the breeze of ill luck, we will still cherish a grateful remembrance for those who kindly assisted our effort in the outset.

True, we have no great reason at present for dark forebodings. We have been gliding along right smoothly — right merrily has our bark, freighted with our “little all,” been scudding before a (not a strong) gale of prosperity, and a few more years of the same kind of a breeze will find us snugly anchored in the harbor of safety, surrounded by pleasure, plenty, and piety, together with the good wishes of our friends, and, we hope, of our enemies too. But these bright hopes may vanish — the sun of our prosperity may soon be darkened by threatening clouds — the blasts of misfortune may whistle around us, and we may be wrecked upon the barren shores of destitution, and left a prey to a heartless set of — constables! To-day is our summer, and “all around about” us abound the elements of enjoyment. The posies of pleasure bloom, and fluttering insects sip their sweets. The merry chirp of the birds of happiness, chiming with the mellow melodies of the forest, combine to charm us with the delightfulnes of the scene. But the storm may come, when these beautiful posies will fade, those merry songsters wing their way from us forever, and their ravishing music be supplied by our melancholy moanings, leaving our fair, fond hopes to perish in the winter of despair. But all this cannot crush the remembrance of our early friends. How pathetic!

Let us descend from fancy to fact. Some person has remarked, and very truly too, that editorial promises generally, like those of politicians, are only made to be broken; for all promises are under the control of a combination of circumstances called fate.

Now, we do not think that this remark has been fully verified in our own case. To be sure, we have made promises from time to time to our readers which, in some cases we may not have [page 125:] fulfilled; but in the majority of instances, we have redeemed them, and — that's more than the most of folks can say! In view, therefore, of this fact, we beg leave to make another — grand — promise.

We promise — and hope — to pay more attention, in future, to the editorial department of the Spy than heretofore. To enable us to do this the more effectually we have procured the aid of several skilful writers — Mr. Poe, a well-known critic, leading the troupe! In the mean time we shall be happy to enjoy contributions from friends in our immediate neighborhood, who may have a disposition to give the Spy a hand.

We will add, that exactly in proportion as we are patronized by the public, will we continue to improve the appearance and usefulnes of the Spy. Therefore, if it add anything to the honor of a people, to have planted in their midst an upright and sound newspaper, there is no better method in the world of testifying their appreciation of it than by punctuality in paying debts for printing. Show us a well-patronized journal, and we will show you a moral and intelligent people — who indeed are alone capable of appreciating the influence of the Press.

Dec. 7, 1844.


The patrnership [[partnership]] existing between Eli Bowen and Jacob L. Gossler, in the publication and establishment of the Columbia Spy, is this day dissolved by mutual consent; and all claims due to the establishment are to be settled with the new firm.



Dec. 2.


I have disposed of my interest in this establishment to David G. Barnitz, of York; my connexion with it has therefore ceased.

In withdrawing from the Spy, I cannot refrain from expressing the sense of gratitude I entertain for the very liberal support extended me by the public, in connexion with my late partner, Mr. Gossler. Although we have experienced many troubles, owing to our inexperience in the business, we have, nevertheless, finally, overcome them, and we think, succeeded in placing the Spy in a prouder position than it has ever heretofore occupied. This, of course, has been accomplished through the liberal patronage of our friends; and for this we thank them. [page 126:]

From a long acquaintance with my late partner in business, I have found in him all the virtues of a gentleman. I regret, more than anything, to part with the valuable friend I have found in him.

The accounts of the office have also been purchased by Mr. Barnitz; those of our creditors, however, with whom we have had no accounts, will present their claims to us for liquidation.




In preparing the text, obvious misprints were corrected silently; such things as “worl” for “world” need no annotation. But the following emendations, while really necessary, perhaps deserve record here. The form in parentheses is that printed in the Spy. LETTER I, Akinetos (Akineros). LETTER II, Bennett (Bennet); Greeley (Greely). LETTER IV, perpetrated (perpetuated). LETTER V, strombuses (stonebuses); iniquity (quiet); tintamarres (tintamanes); LETTER VI, absolute air (absolute aid). CARRIERS’ ADDRESS, line 4, worldly (wordly); line 94, cypress (express); line 114, sly (shy).






[S:0 - SPM29, 1929] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Doings of Gotham: Poe's Contributions to The Columbia Spy (J. Spannuth and T. O. Mabbott) (Appendix)