Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Autography [part I]” (txt-1), Southern Literary Messenger , February 1836, 2:205-212


[page 205:]


Our friend and particular acquaintance, Joseph Miller, Esq., (who, by the way, signs his name, we think, Joseph A. Miller, or Joseph B. Miller, or at least Joseph C. Miller) paid us a visit a few days ago. His behavior was excessively odd. Walking into our sanctum without saying a word, he seated himself with a dogged air in our own exclusive arm-chair, and surveyed us, for some minutes, in silence, and in a very suspicious manner, over the rim of his spectacles. There was evidently something in the wind. “What can the man want?” thought we, without saying so.

“I will tell you,” said Joseph Miller, Esq. — that is to say, Joseph D. Miller, Joseph E. Miller, or possibly Joseph F. Miller, Esq. “I will tell you,” said he. Now, it is a positive fact that we had not so much as attempted to open any of our mouths.

“I will tell you,” said he, reading our thoughts.

“Ah, thank you!” we replied, slightly smiling, and feeling excessively uncomfortable — “thank you! — we should like to know.”

“I believe,” resumed he — resumed Joseph G. Miller — “I believe you are not altogether unacquainted with our family.”

“Why, not altogether, certainly — pray, sir, proceed.”

“It is one of the oldest families in —— in ——”

“In Great Britain,” we interposed, seeing him at a loss.

“In the United States,” said Mr. Miller — that is, Joseph H. Miller, Esq.

“In the United States! — why, sir, you are joking surely: we thought the Miller family were particularly British — The Jest-Book you know ——”

“You are in error,” interrupted he — interrupted Joseph I. Miller — “we are British, but not particularly British. You should know that the Miller family are indigenous every where, and have little connection with either time or place. This is a riddle which you may be able to read hereafter. At present let it pass, and listen to me. You know I have many peculiar notions and opinions — many particularly bright fancies which, by the way, the rabble have thought proper to call whims, oddities, and eccentricities. But, sir, they are not. You have heard of my passion for autographs?”

“We have.”

“Well, sir, to be brief. Have you, or have you not, seen a certain rascally piece of business in the London Athenæum?”

“Very possible,” we replied.

“And, pray, sir, what do you think of it?”

“Think of what?”

“No, sir, not of what,” said he — said Joseph K. Miller, Esq., getting very angry, “not of what at all; but of that absurd, nefarious, and superfluous piece of autographical rascality therein — that is to say, in the London Athenæum — deliberately, falsely, and maliciously fathered upon me, and laid to my charge — to the charge of me, I say, Joseph L. Miller.” Here Mr. M. arose, and, unbuttoning his coat in a great rage, took from his breast pocket a bundle of MSS. and laid them emphatically upon the table.

“Ah, ha!” said we, getting particularly nervous, “we begin to understand you. We comprehend. Sit down! You, Joseph M. — that is to say, Joseph N. Miller —   column 2:] have had — that is to say, ought to have had, eh? — and the London Athenæum is — that is to say, it is not, &c. — and — and — and — oh, precisely!”

“My dear sir,” said Mr. Miller, affectionately, “you are a fool — a confounded fool. Hold your tongue! This is the state of the case. I, Joseph O. Miller, being smitten, as all the world knows, with a passion for autographs, am supposed, in that detestable article to which I am alluding, and which appeared some time ago in the London Athenæum, — am supposed, I say, to have indited sundry epistles, to several and sundry characters of literary notoriety about London, with the sinister design, hope, and intention, of thereby eliciting autograph replies — the said epistles, presumed to be indited by me, each and individually being neither more nor less than one and the same thing, and consisting ——”

“Yes, sir,” said we, “and consisting ——”

“And consisting,” resumed Mr. Joseph P. Miller, “of certain silly inquiries respecting the character of certain ——”

“Of certain cooks, scullions, and chambermaids,” said we, having now some faint recollection of the article alluded to.

“Precisely,” said our visiter — “of certain cooks, scullions, chambermaids, and boot-blacks.”

“And concerning whose character you are supposed to be excessively anxious.”

“Yes, sir — I — excessively anxious! — only think of that! — I, Joseph Q. Miller, excessively anxious!”

“Horrible!” we ejaculated.

“Damnable!” said Mr. M.

“But what papers are these,” demanded we taking courage, and eyeing the bundle of MSS. which our friend had thrown upon the table.

“Those papers,” said Mr. Miller, after a pause, and with considerable dignity of manner, “those papers are, to tell you the truth, the result of some — of some ingenuity on the part of your humble servant. They are autographs — but they are American autographs, and as such may be of some little value in your eyes. Pray accept them — they are entirely at your service. I beg leave, however, to assure you that I have resorted to no petty arts for the consummation of a glorious purpose. No man can accuse me, sir, me Joseph R. Miller, of meanness or of superficiality. My letters have invariably been — have been — that is to say, have been every thing they should be. Moreover, they have not been what they should not be. I have propounded no inquiries about scullions. I wrote not to the sublimated Mr. —— , [here we do not feel justified in indicating more fully the name mentioned by Mr M.] touching a chambermaid, nor to Mr. —— , in relation to a character. On the contrary, I have adapted my means to my ends. I have — I have — in short, sir, I have accomplished many great and glorious things, all of which you shall behold in the sequel.” We bowed, and our visiter continued.

“The autographs here included are, you will perceive, the autographs of our principal literati. They will prove interesting to the public. It would be as well to insert the letters in your Messenger, with facsimiles of the signatures. Of my own letters eliciting these replies I have unfortunately preserved no copies.” Here Mr. M. handed us the MSS. [page 206:]

“Mr. Joseph S. Miller” — we began, deeply penetrated by his kindness.

“Joseph T. Miller, if you please,” interrupted he, with an emphasis on the T.

“Well, sir,” said we — “so be it: Mr. Joseph V. Miller, then, since you will have it so, we are highly sensible of your noble, of your disinterested generosity. We are ——”

“Say no more,” interrupted our friend, with a sigh — “say no more, I beseech you. The MSS. are entirely at your service. You have been very kind to me, and when I forget a kindness my name is no longer Joseph W. Miller.”

“Then your name is — is positively Joseph W. Miller?” — we inquired with some hesitation.

“It is” — he replied, with a toss of the head, which we thought slightly supercilious — “It is — Joseph X. Miller. But why do you ask? Good day! In a style epistolary and non-epistolary I must bid you adieu — that is to say I must depart (and not remain) your obedient servant, Joseph Y. Miller.”

“Extremely ambiguous!” we thought, as he whipped [column 2:] out of the room — “Mr. Miller! Mr. Miller!” — and we hallooed after him at the top of our voice. Mr. Miller returned at the call, but most unfortunately we had forgotten what we had been so anxious to say.

“Mr. Miller,” said we, at length, “shall we not send you a number of the Magazine containing your correspondence?”

“Certainly!” — he replied — “drop it in the Post Office.”

“But, sir,” said we, highly embarrassed, — “to what — to what address shall we direct it?”

“Address!” ejaculated he — “you astonish me! Address me, sir, if you please — Joseph Z. Miller.”

The package handed us by Mr. M. we inspected with a great deal of pleasure. The letters were neatly arranged and endorsed, and numbered from one to twenty-four. We print them verbatim, and with facsimiles of the signatures, in compliance with our friend's suggestion. The dates, throughout, were overscored, and we have been forced, accordingly, to leave them blank. The remarks appended to each letter are our own.


Philadelphia, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I regret that you had the trouble of addressing me twice respecting the Review of your publication. The truth is it was only yesterday I enjoyed the opportunity of reading it, and bearing public testimony to its merits. I think the work might have a wider circulation if, in the next edition, it were printed qvithout the preface. Of your talents and other merits I have long entertained a high opinion.

Respectfully, your faithful servant,

Robert Walsh
[[Robert Walsh (1784-1859)]]


There is nothing very peculiar in the physique of this letter. The hand-writing is bold, large, sprawling, and irregular. It is rather rotund than angular, and is by no means illegible. One would suppose it written in a violent hurry. The t's are crossed with a sweeping scratch of the pen, giving the whole letter an odd appearance [column 2:] if held upside-down, or in any position other than the proper one. The whole air of the letter is dictatorial. The paper is of good but not superior quality. The seal is of brown wax mingled with gold, and bears a Latin motto, of which only the words trans and mortuus are legible.


Hartford, ——.  

My Dear Sir, — Your letter of the — ult. with the accompanying parcel, reached me in safety, and I thank you for that polite attention, which is the more gratifying, as I have hitherto not had the pleasure of your acquaintance. The perusal of the pamphlet afforded me great delight, and I think it displays so much good sense, mingled with so much fine taste, as would render it an acceptable present to readers even more fastidious than myself. The purely Christian opinions with which the work abounds, will not fail of recommending it to all lovers of virtue, and of the truth. I remain yours, with respect and esteem,

L. H. Sigourney
[[Mrs. Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865)]]


Much pains seem to have been taken in the MS. of this epistle. Black lines have been used, apparently. Every t is crossed and every i dotted with precision. The punctuation is faultless. Yet the tout-ensemble of the letter has nothing of formality or undue effeminacy. The characters are free, well-sized, and handsomely formed, preserving throughout a perfectly uniform and beautiful appearance, although generally unconnected [column 2:] with each other. Were one to form an estimate of the character of Mrs. Sigourney's compositions from the character of her hand writing, the estimate would not be very far from the truth. Freedom, dignity, precision, and grace of thought, without abrupt or startling transitions, might be attributed to her with propriety. The paper is good, the seal small — of green and gold wax — and without impression. [page 207:]


New York, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have delayed replying to your letter of the — ult. until I could find time to make the necessary inquiries about the circumstances to which you allude. I am sorry to inform you that these inquiries have been altogether fruitless, and that I am consequently unable, at present, to give you the desired information. If, hereafter, any thing shall come to light which may aid you in your researches, it will give me great pleasure to communicate with you upon the subject.

I am, Dear Sir, your friend and servant,

J. K. Paulding
[James Kirke Paulding (1778-1860)]


There is much in the hand-writing here like that of Mrs. Sigourney, and yet, as a whole, it is very different. In both MSS. Perfect uniformity and regularity exist, and in both, the character of the writing is formed — that is to say, decided. Both are beautiful, and, at a casual glance, both have a somewhat similar effect. But Mrs. Sigourney's MS. is one of the most legible, and Mr. Paulding's one of the most illegible in the world. His[column 2:] small a's, t's and c's are all alike, and the style of the characters generally is French. No correct notion of Mr. Paulding's literary peculiarities could be obtained from an inspection of his MS. It has probably been modified by strong adventitious circumstances. The paper is of a very fine glossy texture, and of a blue tint, with gilt edges.


Boston, ——.  

It is due from me to advise you that the communication of the — ult. addressed by you to myself involves some error. It is evident that you have mistaken me for some other person of the same surname, as I am altogether ignorant of the circumstances to which you refer. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. Palfrey
[John Gorham Palfrey (1796-1881)]


The hand writing here is of an odd appearance. The capitals and long letters extend far above or below the line, and the rest have a running and diminutive formation, rendering it difficult to distinguish one from another. The words are usually far apart, and but little matter is contained in much space. At first sight the [column 2:] MS appears to be hurried — but a few moments’ examination will prove that this is nor the case. The capital I's might be mistaken for T's. The whole has a clean and uniform appearance. The paper is common, and the seal (of red wax) is oval in shape — probably a shield — the device illegible.


St. Mark's Place, New York, ——.  

Dear Sir, — Your obliging letter of the —— was received in due course of mail, and I am gratified by your good opinion. At the same time my numerous engagements will render it out of my power to send you any communication for your valuable Magazine, ‘The Humdrum,’ for some months to come at least. Wishing you all success, and with many thanks for your attention.

I remain, sir, your humble servant,

J. Fenimore Cooper
[James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)]


Mr. Cooper's MS. is bad — very bad. There is no distinctive character about it, and it appears to be unformed. The writing will probably be different in other letters. Upon reference we find this to be the fact. In[column 2:] the letter to Mr. Miller, the MS. is of a petite and finicky appearance, and looks as if scratched with a steel pen — the lines are crooked. The paper is fine, and of a bluish tint. A wafer is used.


New York, ——.  

My Dear Sir, — I owe you a very humble apology for not answering sooner your flattering epistle of the — ult. The truth is, being from home when your letter reached my residence, my reply fell into the ever open grave of deferred duties.

As regards the information you desire I regret that it is out of my power to aid you. My studies and pursuits [page 208:] have been directed, of late years, in so very different a channel, that I am by no means au fait on the particular subject you mention. Believe me, with earnest wishes for your success,

Very respectfully yours,

C. M. Sedgwick
[Catherine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867)]


The penmanship of Miss Sedgwick is excellent. The characters are well-sized, distinct, elegantly, but not ostentatiously formed; and, with perfect freedom of manner, are still sufficiently feminine. The hair strokes of the pen differ little in thickness from the other parts of the MS. — which has thus a uniform appearance column 2:] it might not otherwise have. Strong common sense, and a scorn of superfluous ornament, one might suppose, from Miss Sedgwick's hand-writing, to be the characteristics of her literary style. The paper is very good, blue in tint, and ruled by machine. The seal of red wax, plain.


New York, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have received your favor of the —— . The report to which it alludes was entirely without foundation. I have never had, and have not now, any intention of editing a Magazine. The Bookseller's statement on this subject originated in a misunderstanding.

Your Poem on “Things in General,’’ I have not had the pleasure of seeing. I have not, however, the least doubt of its — of its — that is to say, of its extreme delicacy of sentiment, and highly original style of thinking _ to say nothing at present of that — of that extraordinary and felicitous manner of expression which so particularly characterizes all that — that I have seen of your writings. I shall endeavor, sir, to procure your Poem, and anticipate much pleasure in its perusal.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Fitz-Greene Halleck
[Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1867)]


[In the original article, the address for the above entry appears on the same line as the “LETTER VII” rather than on its own line, in most of the other entries. This was probably a typographical concession for the sake of fitting the text neatly on the page. The double column format used for the explanatory portions of the article, with which this page ends, would have made layout across two pages impractical.]

Mr. Halleck's is a free, mercantile hand, and evinces a love for the graceful rather than for the picturesque. There is some force, too, in its expression. The tout [column 2:] ensemble is pleasing. Mr. H.'s letter is probably written currente calamo — but without hurry. The paper is very good, and bluish — the seal of red wax.


Alexandia, Red River, ———, Louisiana.  

Dear Sir, — Your polite letter of the — is before me, and the view which you present of the estimation in which you hold my poor labors is every way gratifying. It would afford me great pleasure to send you a few trifles for the Hum-drum, which I have no doubt will prove a very useful periodical if its design is well carried out — but the truth is my time is entirely occupied. Yours,

Timothy Flint
[Reverend Timothy Flint (1780-1840)]


The writing in this letter has a fidgetty appearance, and would seem to indicate a mind without settled aims — restless and full of activity. Few of the characters are written twice in the same manner, and their direction varies continually. Sometimes the words lie perpendicularly on the page — then slope to the right — column 2:] then, with a jerk, fly off in an opposite way. The thickness, also, of the MS. is changeable — sometimes the letters are very light and fine — sometimes excessively heavy. Upon a casual glance at Mr. F.'s epistle, one might mistake it for an imitation of a written letter by a child. The paper is bad and wafered.


Philadelphia, ——.  

Miss Leslie's

compliments to Mr. Miller. She has no knowledge of the person spoken of in Mr. Miller's note, and is quite certain there must be some mistake in the statement alluded to.

[[Miss Eliza Leslie (1787-1858)]]


Several persons of our acquaintance, between whose mental character and that of Miss Leslie we have fancied a strong similitude, write a hand almost identical with this lady's — yet we are unable to point out much in the MS. itself according with the literary peculiarities of Miss L. Neatness and finish, without over-effeminacy, are, perhaps, the only features of resemblance. [column 2:] We might also, by straining a point, imagine (from the MS.) that Miss L. regards rather the effect of her writings as a whole than the polishing of their constituent parts. The penmanship is rotund, and the words are always finished with an inward twirl. The paper tolerable and wafered. page 209:]


Boston, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have your favor of the —— . For the present I must decline replying to the queries you have propounded. Be pleased to accept my thanks for the flattering manner in which you speak of my Lecture. I am, Dear Sir, very faithfully, yours,

Edward Everett
[Edward Everett (1794-1865)]


Here is a noble MS. It has an air of deliberate precision about it emblematic of the statesman; and a mingled solidity and grace speaking the scholar. Nothing can be more legible. The words are at proper intervals — the lines also are at proper intervals, and perfectly straight. There are no superfluous flourishes. The man who writes thus will never grossly err in[column 2:] judgment or otherwise. We may venture to say, however, that he will not attain the loftiest pinnacles of renown. The paper is excellent — stout yet soft — with gilt edges. The seal of red wax, with an oval device bearing the initials E. E. and surrounded with a scroll, on which are legible only the word cum and the letters c. o. r. d. a.


New York, ——.  

My Dear Sir, — I must be pardoned for refusing your request touching your MS. “Treatise on Pigs.” I was obliged, some years ago, to come to the resolution not to express opinions of works sent to me. A candid opinion of those whose merit seemed to me small, gave offence, and I found it the best way to avoid a judgment in any case. I hope this will be satisfactory. I am, my Dear Sir, very respectfully yours,

Washington Irving
[Washington Irving (1783-1859)]


Mr. Irving's hand writing is common-place. There is nothing indicative of genius about it. Neither could any one suspect, from such penmanship, a high finish in the author's compositions. This style of writing is more frequently met with than any other. It is a very usual clerk's hand — scratchy and tapering in appearance,[column 2:] showing (strange to say) — an eye deficient in a due sense of the picturesque. There may be something, however, in the circumstance that the epistle to Mr. Miller is evidently written in a desperate hurry. Paper very indifferent, and wafered.


Boston, ——.  

Sir, — In reply to your note of the —— , in which you demand if I am “the author of a certain scurrilous attack upon Joseph M. Miller, in the Daily Polyglot of the — ult.” I have to say that I am happy in knowing nothing about the attack, the Polyglot, or yourself.

John Neal
[John Neal (1793-1876)]


Mr. Neal's MS. is exceedingly illegible, and very careless. It is necessary to read one half his epistle and guess at the balance. The capitals and long letters, like those of Mr. Palfrey, extend far above and below the line, while the small letters are generally nothing but dots and scratches. Many of the words are [column 2:] run together — so that what is actually a sentence is frequently mistaken for a single word. One might suppose Mr. Neal's mind (from his penmanship) to be bold, excessively active, energetic, and irregular. Paper very common, and wafered.


Baltimore, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have received your note of the — ult., and its contents puzzle me no little. I fear it will be impossible to give a definite reply to an epistle so enigmatically worded. Please write again.

Yours truly,

John P. Kennedy
[John Pendleton Kennedy (1795-1870)]

JOSEPH N. MILLER, ESQ. [page 210:]

This is our beau ideal of penmanship. Its prevailing character is picturesque. This appearance is given by terminating every letter abruptly, without tapering, and by using no perfect angles, and none at all which are not spherical. Great uniformity is preserved in the whole air of the MS. — with great variety in the constituent parts. Every character has the clearness and blackness of a bold wood-cut, and appears to be placed upon the paper with singular precision. The long letters do not rise or fall in an undue degree above the line. From this specimen of his hand writing, we should suppose column 2:] Mr. Kennedy to have the eye of a painter, more especially in regard to the picturesque — to have refined tastes generally — to be exquisitely alive to the proprieties of life — to possess energy, decision, and great talent — to have a penchant also for the bizarre. The paper is very fine, clear and white, with gilt edges — the seal neat and much in keeping with the MS. Just sufficient wax, and no more than sufficient, is used for the impression, which is nearly square, with a lion's head in full alto relievo, surrounded by the motto “il parle par tout.”


Philadelphia, ——.  

Dear Sir, — Enclosed is your letter of the — ult. addressed to Dr. Robert M. Bird, Philadelphia. From the contents of the note it is evidently not intended for myself. There is, I believe, a Dr. Robert Bird, who resides somewhere in the Northern Liberties — also several Robert Birds in different parts of the city.

Very respectfully, your obedient, humble servant,

Robert M. Bird
[Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854)]


Dr. Bird's chirography is by no means bad — still it cannot be called good. It is very legible and has force. There is some degree of nervousness about it. It bears a slight resemblance to the writing of Miss Leslie, especially in the curling of the final letters — but is more open, and occupies more space. The characters have column 2:] the air of not being able to keep pace with the thought, and an uneasy want of finish seems to have been the consequence. A restless and vivid imagination might be deduced from this MS. It has no little of the picturesque also. The paper good — wafered and sealed.


Oak Hill, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have received your polite letter of the —— , and will have no objection to aid you in your enterprise by such information as I can afford. There are many others, however, who would be much better able to assist you in this matter than myself. When I get a little leisure you shall hear from me again. I am, Dear Sir, with respect, your obedient,

J. Marshall
[Chief Justice John Marshall (1755-1835)]


The hand writing of the Chief Justice is not unlike that of Neal — but much better and more legible. The habit of running two words into one (a habit which we noticed in Neal) is also observable in the Chief Justice. The characters are utterly devoid of ornament or unnecessary flourish, and there is a good deal of abruptness about them. They are heavy and black, with very little [column 2:] hair stroke. The lines are exceedingly crooked, running diagonally across the paper. A wide margin is on the left side of the page, with none at all on the right. The whole air of the MS. in its utter simplicity, is strikingly indicative of the man. The paper is a half sheet of coarse foolscap, wafered.


Baltimore, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have received your letter of the — ult. in which you do me the honor of requesting an autograph. In reply, I have to say, that if this scrawl will answer your purpose it is entirely at your service. Yours respectfully,

Wm. Wirt
[William Wirt (1772-1834)]  


Mr. Wirt's hand writing has a strong resemblance to that of his friend John P. Kennedy — it is by no means, however, as good, and has too much tapering about it to be thoroughly picturesque. The writing is column 2:] black, strong, clear, and very neat. It is, upon the whole, little in accordance with the character of Mr W.'s compositions. The lines are crooked. The paper bluish and English — wafered. page 211:]


Washington, ——.  

Dear Sir, — In answer to your kind inquiries concerning my health, I am happy to inform you that I was never better in my life. I cannot conceive in what manner the report to which you allude could have originated. Believe me with the highest respect, your much obliged friend and servant,

Joseph Story
[Joseph D. Story (1779-1845)]


Judge Story's is a very excellent hand, and has the air of being written with great rapidity and ease. It is rotund, and might be characterized as a rolling hand. The direction of the letters occasionally varies from right to left, and from left to right. The same peculiarity was observable in Mr. Flint's. Judge Story's column 2:] MS. is decidedly picturesque. The lines are at equal distances, but lie diagonally on the page. The paper good, of a bluish tint, and folded to form a marginal line. The seal of red wax, and stamped with a common compting-house stamp.


New York, ——.  

My Dear Sir, — I thank you for the hints you have been so kind as to give me in relation to my next edition of the “Voyage,” but as that edition has already gone to press, it will be impossible to avail myself of your attention until the sixth impression. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. N. Reynolds
[Jeremiah N. Reynolds (ca. 1799-1858)]


We are not partial to Mr. Reynolds’ style of chirography. It is a common mercantile hand, in which the words taper off from their beginning to their end. [column 2:] There is much freedom, but no strength about it. The paper good, and wafered.


Portland, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have no knowledge of your owing me the small sum sent in your letter of the, and consequently I re-enclose you the amount. You will no doubt be able to discover and rectify the mistake. Very truly yours,

James Brooks
[James Brooks (1810-1873)]


Mr. Brooks writes a very good hand, strong, bold, and abrupt — highly indicative of the author's peculiar features of mind. These are nervous cmmon sense, without tinsel or artificiality, and a straight forward directness [column 2:] of conception. The lines are even — and the words at proper intervals. The paper good — and wafered.


Washington, ——.  

Sir, — I shall be better enabled to answer your letter about “certain mysterious occurrences,” of which you desire an explanation, when you inform me explicitly (and I request you will do this) what are the mysterious occurrences to which you allude.

J. Q. Adams
[John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)]


The chirography of the Ex-President is legible — but has an odd appearance, on account of the wavering of the capitals and long letters. The writing is clear, somewhat heavy, and picturesque — without [column 2:] ornament. Black lines seem to have been used. A margin is preserved to the right and left. The proportion of the letters is well maintained throughout. The paper common, and wafered.


Philadelphia, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I have just received your letter of the —— , in which you complain of my neglect in not replying to your favors of the —— of the —— and of the —— ult. I do assure you, sir, that the letters have never come to hand. If you will be so good as to repeat their contents, it will give me great pleasure to answer them, each and all. The Post Office is in a very bad condition. Yours respectfully,

Mathew Carey
[Mathew Carey (1760-1839)]


Mr. Carey does not write a legible hand — although in other respects a good one. It resembles that of Neal very nearly. Several of the words in the letters to Mr.  [column 2:] Miller are run together. The i's are seldom dotted. The lines are at equal distances, and straight. The paper very good — wafered.


Dear Sir, — No such person as Philip Philpot has ever been in my employ as a coachman, or otherwise. The name is an odd one, and not likely to be forgotten. The man must have reference to some other Dr. Channing. It would be as well to question him closely. Respectfully yours,

W. E. Channing
[William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)]


Dr. Channing's MS. is very excellent. The letters are bold, well-sized, and beautifully formed. They are, perhaps, too closely crowded upon one another One might, with some little acumen, detect the high column 2:] finish of Dr. C's style of composition in the character of his chirography. Boldness and accuracy are united with elegance in both. The paper very good, and wafered.


Philadelphia, ——.  

Dear Sir, — I must be pardoned for declining to loan the books you mention. The fact is, I have lost many volumes in this way — and as you are personally unknown to me you will excuse my complying with your request. Yours, &c.

Jos. Hopkinson
[Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842)]


This is very good MS. — forcible, neat, legible, and devoid of superfluous ornament. Some of the words are run together. The writing slopes considerably. It is too uniform to be picturesque. The lines are at equal distances, and a broad margin is on the left of [column 2:] the page. The chirography is as good at the conclusion as at the commencement of the letter — a rare quality in MSS. — and evincing indefatigability of temperament.


Washington, ——.  

Sir, — Yours of the —— came duly to hand. I cannot send you what you wish. The fact is, I have been so pestered with applications for my autograph, that I have made a resolution to grant one in no case whatsoever. Yours, &c.

Wm. Emmons
[William Emmons (1792-????)]


The writing of the orator is bold, dashing, and chivalrous — the few words addressed to Mr. Miller occupying a full page. The lines are at unequal distances, and run diagonally across the letter. Each sentence is [column 2:] terminated by a long dash — black and heavy. Such an epistle might write the Grand Mogul. The paper is what the English call silver paper — very beautiful and wafered.



In the original article, the text for the letters is set in one column, across the length of the page, while the text of the explanations following each letter are set, as the text of the introduction, in two columns. For the moment, we have replaced the signatures, given in facsimile in the Southern Literary Messenger, with simple text. These “signatures” have been reproduced as they appear in the original, with the full name inserted below editorially for clarification. Each full name links to a biographical page about that person. The one signature that does not appear in the usual place is that of Miss Leslie.

The reader may note that the middle initial of Mr. Miller changes from A-Z, omitting only two letters (J and U, these being typographically equivalent to I and V).


[S:0 - SLM, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc - Autography (part 01)]