Text: J. W. Ostrom, B. R. Pollin, and J. A. Savoye, “Chapter 02,” The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: 1824-1845 (2008), pp. 75-170 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 75, unnumbered:]



The Folio Club and the Southern Literary Messenger

Letters 37-76: May 1833-January 1837

[page 77:]

Letter 37 — 1833, May 4 [CL-72] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Joseph T. and Edwin Buckingham (Boston, MA):

Baltimore May 4th 1833


I send you an original tale in hope of your accepting it for the N. E. Magazine. It is one of a number of similar pieces which I have contemplated publishing under the title of ‘Eleven Tales of the Arabesque’. They are supposed to be read at table by the eleven members of a literary club, and are followed by the remarks of the company upon each. These remarks are intended as a burlesque upon criticism. In the whole, originality more than any thing else has been attempted. I have said this much with a view of offering you the entire M.S. If you like the specimen which I have sent I will forward the rest at your suggestion — but if you decide upon publishing all the tales, it would not be proper to print the one I now send until it can be printed in its place with the others. It is however optional with you either to accept them all, or publish ‘Epimanes’ and reject the rest — if indeed you do not reject them altogether.

Very resply

Yr Obt St

Edgar Allan Poe

Messrs Buckingham.

Please reply by letter as I have few opportunities of seeing your Magazine.

[Here appears the text of “Epimanes,” running to page 4.]

P.S. I am poor.

Note: The New-England Magazine was founded by Joseph Tinker Buckingham (1779-1861) and his son, Edwin (1810-1833). It began publication in July 1831, and ended in December 1835. “Epimanes,” one of the Tales of the Folio Club, was first printed in the SLM (March 1836) 2:235-238 (see Wyllie, Poe's Tales, p. 327). For a description of the manuscript of “Epimanes,” along with a record of the text of this version, see TOM [T&S], 2:117-130. For supplemental discussions of Poe's Tales [page 78:] of the Folio Club, see Wilson, “The Devil Was in It,” American Mercury, 24:214-220; also Quinn, pp. 745-746; and Hammond's searching study of the Folio Club (“Tales of The Folio Club: Evolution of a Lost Book,” in Poe at Work, pp. 13-43). Poe's reason for submitting a tale to the New-England Magazine is obvious; it offered $1 a page for contributions at a time when few magazines paid contributors anything (American Magazines, 1:599-600). As would so often happen to Poe, however, his timing was spectacularly unfortunate. Although a joint effort between father and son, the magazine was chiefly the interest of Edwin Buckingham, and he was suffering from tuberculosis. At the time of the present letter, Edwin had gone abroad hoping to improve his health. He was returning on the brig Mermaid when he died on May 18, 1833. As noted by Mott, “His father continued the magazine, though with growing distaste for the work, until October, 1834, when he sold it to Samuel G. Howe and John O. Sargent” (American Magazines, 1:601). If J. T. Buckingham responded by letter, returning the MS, no record of the reply is known. For Poe's further disappointment about the non-publication of “Epimanes” expressed to Kennedy, see the second page of LTR-50. Apparently for the first time, Poe signs his full name to the present letter, probably as a detail he hoped would appeal to the proprietors and their sense of formality (see also LTR-38 and LTR-39).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (4 pp.), formerly in the collection of H. Bradley Martin, and currently in the collection of Mrs. S. J. Tane. The letter covers the top third of page one of a four-page MS that includes Poe's print-like copy of “Epimanes”; at the foot of page 4, Poe added his “P.S.” In the center of page 4 appears: “Messrs. Buckingham/ Editors of the N. England Magazine/ Boston, Masstts.” Poe's signature carries a flowing underline, with a small loop in the middle.

Letter 38 — 1834, ca. November 19 [CL-73] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Balto: Nov: 1834.

Dr Sir,

I have a favour to beg of you which I thought it better to ask in writing, because, sincerely, I had not courage to ask it in person. I am [page 79:] indeed too well aware that I have no claim whatever to your attention, and that even the manner of my introduction to your notice was, at the best, equivocal.

Since the day you first saw me my situation in life has altered materially. At that time I looked forward to the inheritance of a large fortune, and, in the meantime, was in receipt of an annuity sufficient for my support. This was allowed me by a gentleman of Virginia (Mr Jno Allan) who adopted me at the age of two years, (both my parents being dead) and who, until lately, always treated me with the affection of a father. But a second marriage on his part, and I dare say many follies on my own at length ended in a quarrel between us. He is now dead, and has left me nothing. I am thrown entirely upon my own resources with no profession, and very few friends. Worse than all this, I am at length penniless. Indeed no circumstances less urgent would have induced me to risk your friendship by troubling you with my distresses. But I could not help thinking that if my situation was stated — as you could state it — to Carey & Lea, they might be led to aid me with a small sum in consideration of my M.S. now in their hands. This would relieve my immediate wants, and I could then look forward more confidently to better days. At all events receive assurance of my gratitude for what you have already done.

Most respy

Yr Obt St

Edgar Allan Poe

Jno. P. Kennedy Esqr

Note: John Pendleton Kennedy (1795-1870) was a Baltimore lawyer who had dabbled in the field of literature and would soon be a novelist of some prominence. In October 1833, he served as one of the judges of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter contest in which Poe was awarded the prize for best tale. The present letter, along with LTR-39, both to Kennedy, are the only known letters by Poe between May 4, 1833 and March 15, 1835 (ironically, also to Kennedy), a period in Poe's life about which very little is known. He was probably living at no. 3 North Amity Street (now no. 203) with his aunt, Maria Clemm (see the note to LTR-36). Mrs. Clemm is first identified as living there in the spring of 1833, by the Baltimore City Directory of that year (there was no Directory for 1832); and [page 80:] according to a notice in the Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, July 7, 1835, Poe's grandmother, Mrs. David Poe died there (for this information, as well as fuller account, see Evans, “Poe in Amity Street,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 36:363-380). Poe's first contacts with Kennedy came with his participation in and winning of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter contest, announced June 15 and closed October 1, the winners being published October 12, 1833; Kennedy, John H. B. Latrobe, and Dr. James H. Miller were the judges (see Quinn, pp. 201-202). As is often the case, Poe's autobiographical details are rather equivocal. He was never legally adopted, and his age when taken in by the Allans was almost three. Whether David Poe, Jr. died before or after Poe's “adoption” by John Allan is unknown. The Poe-Allan correspondence hardly supports Poe's statement that Allan “always treated me with the affection of a father” (see APXA-Allan) — and, of course, Poe received no annuity “sufficient for my support.” Allan died on March 27, 1834; his will, originally written on April 17, 1832 and last updated on March 15, 1833, makes no mention of his foster son. Poe, however, had already long given up his hopes of a bequest from John Allan, certainly before he met Kennedy in November 1833 (see The Poe Log, p. 135). For a discussion of Poe's use of his full signature, see the introduction of the present edition. Concerning Carey & Lea, in whose hands Poe's tales were submitted previously for the Saturday Visiter prize, see Kennedy to Poe, December 22, 1834 (CL-75).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Peabody Institute Library. In his letter to Kennedy, December 19, 1834, Poe says: “About four weeks ago I sent you a note respecting my Tales of the F. Club ... ”; thus the date of the present letter may be placed at ca. 19 November. Poe's signature bears a nice paraph. Given that the MS appears to be complete, and written on one side only, Quinn's statement (p. 204, n. 36) that Kennedy wrote a note on “the third leaf” must be questioned. It is possible that Kennedy's comment is on the verso of the single-page original MS, now pasted in an album, and that Harrison may have seen it before the letter was so affixed. It seems more likely, however, that Harrison and Quinn both used a copy of this letter now in the Boston Public Library, which does have the note, signed by Kennedy, on page 3. Kennedy's slightly inaccurate statement reads: “This refers to the volume of Tales sent to Carey & Lea — ‘Tales of the Arabesque,’ etc., — being two series submitted for the prize, for which one was chosen and two others at my suggestion sent to Carey & Lea. — J. P. K.” [page 81:]

Letter 39 — 1834, December 19 [CL-74] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Balt. Dec. 19 / 34

Dr Sir,

About four weeks ago I sent you a note respecting my Tales of the F. Club, and matters have since occurred to make me doubt whether you have recd. it. You would confer upon me the greatest favour by dropping a few words for me in the P.O.

Very respy

Edgar Allan Poe

Jno. P. Kennedy, Esqr.

Note: In connection with the present letter, see LTR- 38. Poe's Tales of the Folio Club was submitted to the Baltimore Saturday Visiter contest, for which one tale, “MS. Found in a Bottle,” won the $50 prize (see the announcement by the judges, reprinted in Quinn, pp. 202-203). At the time of the contest, the series comprised eleven tales, six of which were sent to the Visiter, five already having been printed in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier. Poe, at Kennedy's suggestion (see Kennedy to Poe, CL-75; and notes to LTR-38), submitted the tales to Carey & Lea for publication. Though Carey was willing to publish them, he advised Poe, through Kennedy, first to sell them individually to the annuals, and was actually successful in selling one to Miss Leslie. According to Kennedy, this was for the Atlantic Souvenir, but he was mistaken. (The Souvenir had merged with the Token in 1832 — see Quinn, p. 204, n.). Instead, “MS. Found in a Bottle” appeared in The Gift for 1836, edited by Miss Leslie and published by Carey & Hart late in 1835. The sum of fifteen dollars received by Carey for the tale and forwarded to Kennedy, was undoubtedly called for by Poe. For Henry C. Carey's letters to Kennedy of November 21 and 26, 1834, see The Poe Log (p. 142). The MS of Carey's short note to Kennedy of December 8, 1834, sending the money, is in the Maryland Historical Society. Kennedy's reply to Poe, dated December 22, 1834 (CL-75), explains that he received Carey's letter as he was leaving on a trip to Annapolis, from which he had just returned.

Source: original MS (1 p.) in the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. The address appears on a separate leaf. The postmark is from Baltimore, with the same date as the letter. [page 82:]

Letter 40 — 1835, March 15 [CL-76] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Sunday — 15th March.

Dr Sir,

In the paper which will be handed you with this note is an advertisement to which I most anxiously solicit your attention. It relates to the appointment of a teacher in a Public School, and I have marked it with a cross so that you may readily perceive it. In my present circumstances such a situation would be most desirable, and if your interest could obtain it for me I would always remember your kindness with the deepest gratitude.

Have I any hope? Your reply to this would greatly oblige. The 18th is fixed on for the decision of the commissioners, and the advertisement has only this moment caught my eye. This will excuse my obtruding the matter on your attention to day.

Very respy

E A Poe

Note: An advertisement for the position Poe sought appeared in the Baltimore Patriot, Thursday, March 12, 1835 (p. 3): “A Teacher Wanted — At male Public School No. 3 Aisquith St. The commissioners of Public Schools will appoint on Wednesday next, the 18th inst. a Teacher to supply a vacancy which has occurred at Male School No. 3. Satisfactory recommendations as to character, with testimonials of capacity for conducting a School on the Monitorial System, will be required. Salary one thousand dollars per annum, payable quarterly. Applications addressed to the commissioners, may be left with either of them or the Secretary, No. 8 Courtland Street [a list of the commissioners then follows].” Whether Kennedy recommended Poe is unknown. A search of the Baltimore Patriot following the close of applications revealed no announcement of an appointment.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Peabody Institute Library. Poe's signature is marked by a simple line. That the correct date for the letter is indeed 1835, the year usually assigned, is established by the advertisement noted above. The present letter undoubtedly led to [page 83:] Kennedy's invitation to Poe to come to dinner (Kennedy to Poe, Sunday, March 15, 1835, CL-77) and Poe's subsequent note in reply (LTR-41).

Letter 41 — 1835, March 15 [CL-78] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Dr Sir,

Your kind invitation to dinner to day has wounded me to the quick. I cannot come — and for reasons of the most humiliating nature <in> my personal appearance. You may conceive my deep mortification in making this disclosure to you — but it was necessary. If you will be my friend so far as to loan me $20 I will call on you tomorrow — otherwise it will be impossible, and I must submit to my fate.



E A Poe

J. P. Kennedy Esqr

Sunday, 15th

Note: Many years later, Kennedy would recall that he responded to the present letter with sympathy and generosity: “I gave him clothing, free access to my table and the use of a horse for exercise whenever he chose; in fact brought him up from the very verge of despair” (see Quinn, p. 208). The desperate nature of Poe's circumstances at this time is well documented, and Poe himself acknowledges this assistance in LTR-118, commenting: “Mr Kennedy has been at all times a true friend to me ... I am indebted to him for life itself.

Source: photocopy of the original MS. (1 p.) in the Peabody Institute Library. For the year date, Harrison (H [Works], 17:2) suggested 1833, while subsequent editors give 1835. In a letter to Ingram, March 2, 1909, Amelia F. Poe assigns the letter to March 15 (see Ingram Collection, University of Virginia, item 423); in the unpublished MS revision of his Life of Poe (Ingram Collection), Ingram places Poe's letter concerning the teaching vacancy (Sunday, March 15, 1835) first, with the present letter next, dating both 1835. Poe's last sentence, above, especially “I must submit to my fate,” suggests very strongly that the present letter is a [page 84:] follow-up of the one dated “Sunday, 15th March [1835]” (LTR-40). Kennedy's invitation was probably a written note, same date, unlocated (CL-77). Poe has drawn short lines beneath his signature, Kennedy's name and the date at the foot of the letter.

Letter 42 — 1835, April 30 [CL-80] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Thomas W. White (Richmond, VA):

I noticed the allusion in the Doom. The writer seems to compare my swim with that of Lord Byron, whereas there can be no comparison between them. Any swimmer “in the falls” in my days, would have swum the Hellespont, and thought nothing of the matter. I swam from Ludlam's wharf to Warwick, (six miles,) in a hot June sun, against one of the strongest tides ever known in the river. It would have been a feat comparatively easy to swim twenty miles in still water. I would not think much of attempting to swim the British Channel from Dover to Calais ... [...] to what you said concerning [MS torn off]

A word or two in relation to Berenice. Your opinion of it is very just. The subject is by far too horrible, and I confess that I hesitated in sending it you especially as a specimen of my capabilities. The Tale originated in a bet that I could produce nothing effective on a subject so singular, provided I treated it seriously. But what I wish to say relates to the character of your Magazine more than to any articles I may offer, and I beg you to believe that I have no intention of giving you advice, being fully confident that, upon consideration, you will agree with me. The history of all Magazines shows plainly that those which have attained celebrity were indebted for it to articles similar in natureto Berenice — although, I grant you, far superior in style and execution. I say similar in nature. You ask me in what does this nature consist? In the ludicrous heightened into the grotesque: the fearful coloured into the horrible: the witty exaggerated into the burlesque: the singular wrought out into the strange and mystical. You may say all this is bad taste. I have my doubts about it. Nobody is more aware than I am that simplicity is the cant of the day — but take [page 85:] my word for it no one cares any thing about simplicity in their hearts. Believe me also, in spite of what people say to the contrary, that there is nothing easier in the world than to be extremely simple. But whether the articles of which I speak are, or are not in bad taste is little to the purpose. To be appreciated you must be read, and these things are invariably sought after with avidity. They are, if you will take notice, the articles which find their way into other periodicals, and into the papers, and in this manner, taking hold upon the public mind they augment the reputation of the source where they originated. Such articles are the “M.S. found in a Mad-house” and the “Monos and Daimonos” of the London New Monthly — the “Confessions of an Opium-Eater” and the “Man in the Bell” of Blackwood. The two first were written by no less a man than Bulwer — the Confessions [being] universally attributed to Coleridge — although unjustly. Thus the first men in [England] have not thought writings of this nature unworthy of their talents, and I have go[od] reason to believe that some very high names valued themselves principally upon this species of literature. To be sure originality is an essential in these things — great attention must be paid to style, and much labour spent in their composition, or they will degenerate into the tugid [sic] or the absurd. If I am not mistaken you will find Mr Kennedy, whose writings you admire, and whose Swallow-Barn is unrivalled for purity of style and thought of my opinion in this matter. It is unnecessary for you to pay much attention to the many who will no doubt favour you with their critiques. In respect to Berenice individually I allow that it approaches the very verge of bad taste — but I will not sin quite so egregiously again. I propose to furnish you every month with a Tale of the nature which I have alluded to. The effect — if any — will be estimated better by the circulation of the Magazine than by any comments upon its contents. This much, however, it is necessary to premise, that no two of these Tales will have the slightest resemblance one to the other either in matter or manner — still however preserving the character which I speak of.

Mrs Butler's book will be out on the 1rst. A life of Cicero is in press by Jno Stricker of this city — also a life of Franklin by Jared Sparks, Boston. — also Willis’ Poems, and a novel by Dr Bird. [page 86:]

Yours sincerely

Edgar A Poe

Note: Thomas Willis White (1788-1843) was the editor and proprietor of the recently launched Southern Literary Messenger. With little formal education, only a meager amount of financial resources, and no great experience with the magazine business, White relied on hard work, optimism, and a broad circle of friends, including Lucian Minor and Beverley Tucker. By the time of the present letter, only seven somewhat erratic issues had been published, but it would soon blossom into an important periodical and a strong voice for Southern literature. “Mrs. Butler's book” refers to Fanny Kemble Butler's Journal (Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835), reviewed in SLM (May 1835) 1:524-531. Although reprinted by Harrison, this review was eliminated from the Poe canon by TOM in a letter of 1966 (see PS, 5:56-57), and omitted from Writings, 5:13. Jared Sparks was professor of history at Harvard; see also Poe's “Autography” (H [Works], 15:214), and LTR-63. N. P. Willis published Melanie and Other Poems in 1835. Dr. Robert M. Bird's The Infidel (Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835) was reviewed in the SLM (June 1835, 1:582-585), but Harrison's attribution of the review to Poe (H [Works], 8:32-36) has been disputed (see Writings, 5:19). For Poe's swimming prowess, mentioned in the SLM article at the outset of the letter, see Writings, 5:12; and Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 40-41, who indicates it as by a writer “of Baltimore,” by courtesy of J. H. Whitty. He cites the January 1835 passage in the SLM, to which Poe is replying: “I splashed about with great vigor, thinking about Leander's remarkable feat in crossing the Hellespont, until I felt a great desire to try whether I might not aspire to equal him, or at least E — P —, who swam from Mayo's Bridge to Warwick wharf some years ago.” For Poe's inquiry as to who is the author of “The Doom,” see LTR-45. TOM [T&S], 2:619 cites Poe's comment about “the witty exaggerated into the burlesque” in his headnote to “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” as basic to Poe's view of humor. For Poe's great respect for and use of Bulwer's works, especially at this period, see TOM [T&S], 2:193; Pollin, “Bulwer-Lytton and ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ ” American Notes and Queries, 4:7-9, “Bulwer's Rienzi as Multiple Source for Poe,” PS, 1996, 29:66-68, and “Bulwer-Lytton's Influence on Poe's Works,” EAP Review, 1:5-12. For Thomas DeQuincey's “Confessions of an Opium Eater,” see TOM [T&S], 2:359 n. 12, and also 2:187, 199, 207, and 3:880 and 882; also, R. Snyder, “A [page 87:] De Quinceyan Source for Poe's ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ ” Studies in Short Fiction, 21:103-110; and LTR-206. Even in his similar reference in the 1836 “How to Write a Blackwood Article” Poe deemed the “Confessions” a fiction, ascribed to Coleridge. For William Maginn's “Man in the Bell,” see TOM [T&S], 2:363; used also for “Pit and Pendulum” (TOM [T&S], 2:700 n. 23). Poe is replying to certain criticisms and queries by White, as the content indicates.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Huntington Library. Following Ostrom's opinion, the fragment missing at the head of the present MS letter is provided from the paragraph concerning a swimming feat printed in the SLM (May 1835, 1:468). The paragraph, which is unsigned, refers to a swimming adventure by the writer, the allusion being an answer to a passage in an article entitled “The Doom,” which appeared in the SLM, January 1835, and in which “E — P — “ is cited as making the swim. Biographers have accepted testimonials of early Richmonders to Poe's dexterity and strength in the water (see The Poe Log, pp. 59-60). The paragraph printed in the May issue is headed: “A valued correspondent, who was the bold swimmer alluded to [in ‘The Doom’] writes to us as follows ... ” The subsequent paragraph could have been the first six lines of the present letter, which is a quarto leaf measuring at present 9 1/4 by 8 1/2 inches, with both the top and bottom torn off, about equally, with text definitely missing at the top. The leaf is folded twice, into envelope shape, and addressed to T. W. White; the postal cancellation is Baltimore, April 30, and White wrote on back of letter: “April 30, 1835.” The MS is a little split in folds and the right center edge is damaged. The original size of the leaf must have been at least 10 by 8 1/2 inches, if not more than 10 inches in length. Poe's letter to White, May 30, 1835 (LTR-43), measures 9 3/4 by 7 3/4 inches; his letter to White of June 12, 1835 (LTR-44), 7 5/8 by 6 inches; and that of June 22, 1835 (LTR-45), 9 5/8 by 7 1/2 inches; thus it can be established that the length of leaves increased in proportion to the width. A leaf 8 1/2 inches wide would be at least 10, if not 10 1/2 or 11 inches in length. Poe's surviving MS letter is closely written, averaging about 2/3 of a line for each 1/8 inch. Thus if the original leaf were indeed the size estimated, the missing fragment could be six lines long, still allowing space for the date and salutation. There seems to be no way of proving that the paragraph in the SLM is printed from the missing portion of the present letter. However, since a few lines have been torn from the MS, and since the paragraph appeared in the issue of the SLM following the date of the [page 88:] present letter, the joining seems justified. If this hypothesis is correct, White probably tore off the lines from the head of the letter and used them for printing the paragraph. Following “Calais” there may have been a brief suggestion that White add the present comment to what was said in the January article. The few words provided in brackets are editorial conjectures based on what can be read and the context.

Letter 43 — 1835, May 30 [CL-84] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Thomas W. White (Richmond, VA):

Baltimore, May 30, 1835.

Mr T. W. White

Dr Sir,

I duly recd, through Mr Kennedy your favour of the 20th enclosing $5: and an order for $4.94. I assure you it was very welcome. Miscarriages of double letters are by no means unfrequent just now, but yours, at least, came safely to hand. Had I reflected a moment I should have acknowledged the rect before. I suppose you have heard about Wm Gwynn Jones of this place, late Editor of the Gazette. He was detected in purloining letters from the Office to which the Clerks were in the habit of admitting him familiarly. He acknowledged the theft of more than $2000 in this way at different times. He probably took even more than that, and I am quite sure that on the part of the Clerks themselves advantage was taken of his arrest to embezzle double that sum. I have been a loser myself to a small amount.

I have not seen Mr Kennedy for some days, having been too unwell to go abroad. When I saw him last he assured me his book would reach Richd in time for your next number, and under this assurance, I thought it useless to make such extracts from the book as I wished — thinking you could please yourself in this matter. I cannot imagine what delays its publication, for it has been for some time ready for issue. In regard to my critique I seriously feel ashamed of what I have written. I fully intended to have given the work a thorough review, and examine it in detail. Ill health alone prevented me from so doing. At [page 89:] the time I wrote the hasty sketch [page 2] I sent you I was so ill as to be hardly able to see the paper on which I wrote, and finished in a state of complete exhaustion. I have therefore, not done any thing like justice to the book, and I am vexed about the matter, for Mr K has proved himself a kind friend to me in every respect, and I am sincerely grateful to him for many acts of generosity and attention.

I read the article in the Compiler relating to the “Confessions of a Poet” but there is no necessity of giving it a reply. The book is silly enough of itself, without the aid of any controversy concerning it. In your private ear however I may say a word or two. The writer “I” founds his opinion that I have not read the book simply upon one fact — that I disagree with him concerning it. I have looked over his article two or three times attentively and can see no other reason adduced by him. If this is a good reason. one way it is equally good another — ergo — He has not read the book because he disagrees with me — Neither of us having read it then, it is better to say no more about it.

But seriously — I have read it from beginning to end and was very much amused at it. My opinion concerning it is pretty much the opinion of the press at large. I have heard no person offer one serious word in its defence.

My notice of your Messenger in the Republican was I am afraid too brief for your views. But I could command no greater space in its editorial columns. I have often wondered at your preferring to insert such notices in the Republican. It is a paper by no means in the hands of the first people here. Would not the American suit as well? Its columns are equally at your service. Did you notice the alteration I made in [page 3] the name of the authoress of the lines in reply to Mr Wilde? They were written by Mrs Dr Buckler of this city — not Buckley.

You ask me if I am perfectly satisfied with your course. I reply that I am — entirely. My poor services are not worth what you give me for them.

The high compliment of Judge Tucker is rendered doubly flattering to me by my knowledge of his literary character. [page 90:]

Very sincerely yours

Edgar A Poe

Note: Poe probably received 80 cents per column, and $9.94 was payment in full for contributions to the May SLM (see Hull, p. 21). William Gwynn was the editor of the Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser (see LTR-31); William Gwynn Jones was a boy whom the bachelor editor took into his home. “The boy did not appreciate his opportunities and robbed the city post office,” according to Florence Belle Ogg, a kinswoman of William Gwynn, in a letter to James Southall Wilson. Kennedy's Horse-Shoe Robinson was reviewed by Poe in the SLM (May 1835, 1:522-524) prior to its publication. Poe printed a notice of the April 1835 issue of the SLM in the Baltimore Republican and Commercial Advertiser, May 14, 1835 (see Jackson, “Four of Poe's Critiques,” MLN, 50:251-256). Eliza Sloan Buckler, wife of Poe's Baltimore physician, published a poem entitled “Answer” in the SLM (April 1835, 1:452), in reply to Richard Henry Wilde's “My Life Is Like the Summer Rose” (SLM, August 1834, 1:13; see Jackson, “Four of Poe's Critiques,” MLN, 50:252). For Judge Tucker, see notes to LTR-52. Poe reviewed Laughton Osborn's Confessions of a Poet in the SLM (April 1835, 1:459; see Writings, 5:7-8 and 5:10-11). Writing to Osborn in 1845 (LTR-206), Poe denied his own authorship of this review, commenting that he had thought John Neal the author of the book.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Boston Public Library. The envelope is postmarked at Baltimore, May 31. Poe is replying to White's letter of May 20, 1835 (CL-82).

Letter 44 — 1835, June 12 [CL-86] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Thomas W. White (Richmond, VA):

Bal: June 12th 1835.

Mr T. W, White.

My Dear Sir.

I take the opportunity of sending this M.S. by private hand. Your letter of June 8th I recd yesterday morning together with the Magazines. [page 91:] In reply to your kind enquiries after my health I am glad to say that I have entirely recovered — although Dr Buckler, no longer than 3 weeks ago, assured me that nothing but a sea-voyage would save me. I will do my best to please you in relation to Marshall's Washington if you will send it on. By what time would you wish the M.S. of the Review?

I suppose you have recd Mr Calverts’ communication. He will prove a valuable correspondent. I will send you on The American & Republican as soon as the critiques come out. What I can do farther to aid the circulation of your Magazine I will gladly do — but I must insist on your not sending me any remuneration for services of this nature. They are a pleasure to me & no trouble whatever.

Very sincerely

Edgar A Poe

I congratulate you upon obtaining the services of Mr S. He has a high reputation for talent.

Note: Poe's Baltimore physician seems to have been Dr. Buckler, whose wife had contributed to the SLM in April 1835 (see LTR-43). Marshall's Life of George Washington, first issued in five volumes in 1804-1807, was widely praised, and we know that the first two volumes were among the items Poe borrowed from the new library at the University of Virginia on August 29, 1826 (see The Poe Log, p. 72). It may seem odd that Poe should devote a review to a work already so well-known and established in the literature of the day; but the second edition, a popular two-volume revision by Marshall, was published by James Crissy, of Philadelphia, in 1832, and possibly reprinted in 1835. On June 2, 1835, White wrote to Beverley Tucker, noting, “I must also ask whether you cannot give me a Review of Chief Justices [sic] edition of Washington” (see The Poe Log, p. 155). It may be that Tucker declined and recommended Poe, whose SLM tales he had recently complimented. Poe wrote the review of Marshall's Washington, but White did not print it, in part due to Marshall's death on July 6, 1835 (see LTR-46). George H. Calvert, of Baltimore, was author of “German Literature” (SLM, May 1836, 2:373-380) and “A Scene from ‘Arnold and Andre’ ” (SLM, June 1835, 1:555-557), to which the above “communication” may have reference. Poe's notices of the SLM for May 1835, appeared in the Baltimore [page 92:] American, June 15, 1835, and in the Baltimore Republican, June 13, 1835 (see Jackson, “Four of Poe's Critiques,” MLN, 50:253; also, TOM, “A Few Notes on Poe,” MLN, 35:374). “Mr. S.” was Edward V. Sparhawk, announced as editor of the SLM in the May 1835 issue (1:461).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Boston Public Library. Poe is replying to White's letter of June 8, 1835 (CL-85).

Letter 45 — 1835, June 22 [CL-88] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Thomas W. White (Richmond, VA):

Balt: June 22d 1835

My Dear Sir,

I recd your letter of the 18th yesterday, and this morning your reprint of the Messenger No 3. While I entirely agree with you, and with many of your correspondents, in your opinion of this number (it being in fact one of the very best issued) I cannot help entertaining a doubt whether it would be of any advantage to you to have the public attention called to this its second appearance by any detailed notice in the papers. There would be an air of irregularity about it — as the first edition was issued so long ago — which might even have a prejudicial effect. For indeed the veriest trifles — the mere semblance of any thing unusual or outré — will frequently have a pernicious influence in cases similar to this; and you must be aware that of all the delicate things in the world the character of a young Periodical is the most easily injured. Besides it is undeniable that the public will not think of judging you by the appearance, or the merit of your Magazine in November. Its present character, whether that be good or bad, is all that will influence them. I would therefore look zealously to the future, letting the past take care of itself. Adopting this view of the case, I thought it best to delay doing any thing until I should hear farther from you — being fully assured that a little reflection will enable you to see the matter in the same light as myself. One important objection to what you proposed is the insuperable dislike entertained by the Daily Editors to notice any but the most recent publications. And although [page 93:] I dare say that I could, if you insist upon it, overcome this aversion in the present case, still it would be trifling to no purpose with your interest in that quarter. If however you disagree with me in these opinions I will undoubtedly (upon hearing from you) do as you desire. Of course the remarks I now make will equally apply to any other of the back numbers.

Many of the Contributors to No 3 are familiarly known to me — most of them I have seen occasionally. Charles B. Shaw the author of the Alleghany Levels is an old acquaintance, and a most estimable and talented man. I cannot say with truth that I had any knowledge of your son. I read the Lines to his memory in No 9 and was much struck with an air of tenderness and unaffected simplicity which pervades them. The verses immediately following, and from the same pen, give evidence of fine poetic feeling in the writer.

I will pay especial attention to what you suggested in relation to the punctuation &c of my future M.S.S.

[page 2] You ask me if I would be willing to come on to Richmond if you should have occasion for my services during the coming winter. I reply that nothing would give me greater pleasure. I have been desirous, for some time past, of paying a visit to Richmond, and would be glad of any reasonable excuse for so doing. Indeed I am anxious to settle myself in that city, and if, by any chance, you hear of a situation likely to suit me, I would gladly accept it, were the salary even the merest trifle. I should indeed feel myself greatly indebted to you, if through your means, I could accomplish this object. What you say, in the conclusion of your letter, in relation to the supervision of proof-sheets, gives me reason to hope that possibly you might find something for me to do in your office. If so I should be very glad — for at present a very small portion of my time is employed.

Immediately after putting my last letter to you in the P. O. I called upon Mr Wood as you desired — but the Magazine was then completed.

Very sincerely yours.

Edgar A Poe [page 94:]

I have heard it suggested that a lighter-faced type in the headings of your various articles would improve the appearance of the Messenger. Do you not think so likewise? Who is the author of the Doom?

Note: The third number of the SLM had been published in November 1834, though delayed (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 30). No. 9 (May 1835) printed Eliza Gookin Thornton's verses in memory of White's son, Thomas H., who had died on October 7, 1832; the verses (SLM, 1:491-492) were signed “Eliza of Saco, Maine” (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 18). White's complaint about Poe's careless punctuation probably has reference to a MS criticism; handwritten originals for Poe's SLM criticisms do not seem to exist and collation is therefore impossible. Poe's earliest letters show an erratic punctuation, as do his poems of 1827; but the pointing of the letters improved, especially when he chose to be careful, and in 1845 while preparing material from Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems for inclusion in The Raven and Other Poems, he made only a few changes not involving words (see TOM [ATMP]; TOM [RAOP]; and TOM [Poems], particularly looking at notes for specific poems). As time went on, Poe became increasingly careful of the punctuation of his tales, though the pointing often was more rhetorical than logical. Poe joined White in late July or early August 18, 1835 (see the note to LTR-49). Mr. Wood is probably John W. Woods, a Baltimore publisher (see H [Works], 9:158). Woods & Matchett were the printers for Hatch and Dunning, including for Poe's Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, 1829 (The Poe Log, p. xlix). Wood also printed Address Delivered at the Annual Commencement of Dickinson College, by Stephen Asbury Roszel (1811-1852), reviewed in the SLM (October 1836, 2:716-717; see H [Works], 9:158-159; and Writings, 5:295-296). “The Doom” appeared in the SLM (January 1835, 1:235-240), and was signed “Benedict” (see LTR-42). Jackson acknowledges that J. H. Whitty, author of the appreciative Foreword to his book, knew “Benedict” to be “of Baltimore” (Poe and the SLM, pp. 40-41, n. 50), a hint never pursued. White changed his font of type for the issue (vol. II) of December 1835 (see White to Minor, September 8, 1835 in Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 98-99, and also p. 59).

Charles Brion Shaw (1800-1870) was a prominent railroad and turnpike engineer of Virginia, who published several maps, technical surveys, and special reports for towns and legislatures of Pennsylvania and Virginia, many of which are now procurable only in highly specialized, industrial [page 95:] document repositories. The title given by Poe was a pamphlet concerning the construction of railroad tunnels through the region's mountains, or possibly construction of the canal system. “Levels” seems to be a technical term used for both inclined tunnels or canal equalization levels. The lack of any reference to such a title implies its being a section of a large report. The U.S. National Park Service issues material on the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site in Gallitzin, PA, and says that it was “considered a technological wonder” which “operated between 1834-1854.” Odd is Poe's only reference here to “an old acquaintance,” yet one apparently unmentioned by any writing on Poe.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Boston Public Library. The postal cancellation is Baltimore, June 23. Poe is replying to White's letter of June 18 (CL-87).

Letter 46 — 1835, July 20 [CL-91] Poe (Baltimore, MD) to Thomas W. White (Richmond, VA):

Baltimore, July 20. 1835.

My Dear Sir,

I duly recd both your letters (July 14th & 16th) together with the $20. I am indeed grieved to hear that your health has not been improved by your trip — I agree with you in thinking that too close attention to business has been instrumental in causing your sickness.

I saw the Martinsburg Gazette by accident at Mr Kennedy's — but he is now out of town, and will not be back till the fall, and I know not where to procure a copy of the paper. It merely spoke of the Messenger in general terms of commendation. Have you seen the “Young Men's Paper” — and the N. Y. Evening Star?

As might be supposed I am highly gratified with Mr Pleasants’ notice and especially with Paulding's. What Mr Pleasants says in relation to the commencement of Hans Phaal is judicious. That part of the Tale is faulty indeed — so much so that I had often thought of remodelling it entirely. I will take care & have the Letter inserted in all the Baltimore papers. [page 96:]

Herewith I send you a Baltimore Visiter of October 12th 1833. It contains a highly complimentary letter from Mr Kennedy, Mr Latrobe, and Dr Miller of Baltimore in relation to myself. The Tales of the Folio Club have only been partially published as yet. Lionizing was one of them. If you could in any manner contrive to have this letter copied into any of the Richmond Papers it would greatly advance a particular object which I have in view. If you could find an excuse for printing it in the Messenger it would be still better. You might observe that as many contradictory opinions had been formed in relation to my Tales & especially to Lionizing, you took the liberty of copying the Letter of the Baltimore Committee. One fact I would wish particularly noticed. The Visiter offered two Premiums — one for the best Tale & one for the best Poem — both of which were awarded to me. The award was, however, altered and the Premium for Poetry awarded to the second best in consideration of my having obtained the higher Prize. This Mr Kennedy & Mr Latrobe told me themselves. I know you will do me this favour if you can — the manner of doing it I leave altogether to yourself.

[page 2] I have taken much pains to procure you the Ink. Only one person in Baltimore had it — and he not for sale. As a great favour I obtained a pound at the price of $1.50. It is mixed with Linseed oil prepared after a particular fashion which renders it expensive. I shall go down to the Steamboat as soon as I finish this letter, and if I get an opportunity of sending it I will do so.

It gives me the greatest pain to hear that my Review will not appear in no 11. I cannot imagine what circumstances y[ou] allude to as preventing you from publishing. The Death of the Chief Justice, so far from rendering the Review useless <wa> is the very thing to attract public notice to the Article. I really wish you would consider this matter more maturely and if possible insert it in No 11.

Look over Hans Phaal, and the Literary Notices by me in No 10, and see if you have not miscalculated the sum due me. There are 34 columns in all. Hans Phaal cost me nearly a fortnights hard labour and was written especially for the Messenger. I will not however sin so [page 97:] egregiously again in sending you a long article. I will confine myself to 3 or 4 pages.

Very sincerely yours.

Edgar A. Poe

Note: The “Young Men's Paper,” more properly called the Baltimore Athenaeum and Young Men's Paper, was edited by J. N. McJilton (see The Poe Log, p. 162). John H. Pleasants was the owner of the Richmond Whig and Public Advertiser, which commented favorably on Poe's “Hans Phaal” (see Heartman & Canny [1943], p. 271 and The Poe Log, pp. 162 and 164). The Visiter cited carried the announcement of a prize of fifty dollars awarded Poe for “MS. Found in a Bottle,” and, in addition, high praises by the judges of its merit. Poe's request that the letter be reprinted was granted by White in the SLM (August 1835, 1:716). John Hill Hewitt, editor of the Visiter, was given the poetry award for “Song of the Winds,” entered under the pseudonym of Henry Wilton (see Quinn, pp. 202-203). Poe's claim that he won both awards, but was obliged to accept only “the higher Prize,” is essentially verified by J. H. B. Latrobe's recollections (see “Reminiscences,” p. 60). Poe's count of “34 columns in all” has given considerable trouble to Poe's bibliographers (see Hull, p. 50). It seems to cover “Hans Phaal” (31 columns), and seven short reviews, not including the dubious review of Bird's The Infidel (see Writings, 5:18-19). Poe's Tales of the Folio Club which were published by this date were: “A Tale of Jerusalem,” “The Assignation,” “Berenice,” “Bon-Bon,” “Duc de L’Omelette,” “Lionizing,” “Loss of Breath,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” and “Metzengerstein.” For Poe's review of Marshall's Washington, see LTR-44 and note.

The spelling of the surname as “Hans Phaal,” used once also in Poe's letter to Kennedy (LTR-50), is a rejected variant of Phaall and Pfaall, with the latter ultimately prevailing (over a form giving rise to obscene suggestions). For the involved matter over the years between June 1835 (SLM, 1:565-580) and his final copy (left to Griswold) in his Works, January 1850 (1:1-51), see Writings, 1:376-378; and Pollin, “Hans Pfaall: A False Variant and the Phallic Fallacy,” MissQ, 31:519-527. See Writings (5:18-19) for editor Sparhawk's views of Poe's balloon-tale and for the totality of columns claimed by Poe for compensation. See also Poe's account in the Richard Adams Locke “Literati” sketch of 1846, and its alleged effect (H [Works], 15:128-129). [page 98:]

Source: color photograph of the original MS (2 pp.) on loan to the Poe Foundation in Richmond, VA. The envelope is directed to “Thos W. White, Esqr / Southern Messenger / Richmond, Va.,” and cancelled in Baltimore, July 20. It is endorsed, perhaps by White, as “20 July 1835 / Edgar A. Poe.” The second paragraph of page two shows one faded portion of MS and several smears. Poe's signature is very neat and clean, with a nice paraph. Poe is replying to White's letters of July 14 (CL-89) and 16 (CL-90). Although the present letter is the last surviving one known from Poe to White, others were probably exchanged. White's letter of January 17, 1837 (CL-170) implies a note from Poe (CL-169), and White's January 19, 1837 letter to Tucker (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 111-112) suggests other communications, at least some of which were perhaps in a written form.

Letter 47 — 1835, August 20 [CL-93] Poe (Richmond, VA) to William Poe (Augusta, Georgia):

Richmond Aug: 20, 1835

Dear Sir,

I received your very kind and complimentary letter only a few minutes ago, and hasten to reply.

I have been long aware that a connexion existed between us — without knowing precisely in what manner. Your letter however has satisfied me that we are second cousins. I will briefly relate to you what little I have been able to ascertain, or rather to remember, in relation to our families. That I know but little on this head will not appear so singular to you when I relate the circumstances connected with my own particular history. But to return. My paternal grandfather was Gen: David Poe of Baltimore — originally of Ireland. I know that he had brothers — two I believe. But my knowledge extends only to one, Mr George Poe. My grandfather married, when very young, a Miss Elizabeth Carnes of Lancaster, Pa, by whom he had 5 sons — viz: George (who died while an infant) John, William, David, and Samuel: also two daughters Maria and Eliza. Of the sons none married with the exception of David. He married a Mrs Elizabeth Hopkins, an English lady, by whom he had 3 children, Henry, myself, and Rosalie. Henry [page 99:] died about 4 years ago — Rosalie and myself remain. The daughters of Gen: David Poe, Maria, and Eliza, both married young. Maria married Mr Wm Clemm, a gentleman of high standing and some property in Baltimore. He was a widower with 5 children — and had, after his marriage to Maria Poe 3 others — viz: 2 girls and a boy, of which a girl Virginia, and a boy Henry are still living. Mr Clemm died about 9 years ago without any property whatever, leaving his widow desolate, and unprotected, and little likely to receive protection or assistance from the relatives of her husband — most of whom were opposed to the marriage in the first instances — and whose opposition was no doubt aggravated by the petty quarrels frequently occurring between Maria's children, and Mr Cs children by his former wife. This Maria is the one of whom you speak, and to whom I will allude again presently. Eliza the second daughter of the General, married a Mr Henry Herring of Baltimore, a man of unprincipled character, and by whom she ha[d sever]al children. She is now dead, and Mr Herring, having married ag[ain, there is no] communication with the family of his <sisters> wife's sister. Mrs [Eliza Poe] the widow of General D. Poe, and the mother of Maria, died on[ly about a year] ago, at the age of 79. She had for the last 8 years of her life been [confine]d entirely to bed — never, i[n] any instance, leaving it during that time. She [h]ad been paralyzed, and suffered from many other complaints — her daughter Maria attending her during her long & tedious illness with a Christian & martyr-like fortitude, and with a constancy of attention, and unremitting affection, which must exalt her character in the eyes of all who know her. Maria is now the only survivor of my grandfather's family.

In relation to my grandfather's brother George I know but little. Jacob Poe of Frederich town, Maryland, is his son — also George Poe of Mobile — and I presume your father Wm Poe. G Jacob Poe has two sons Neilson, and George — also one [page 2] daughter Amelia.

My father David died when I was in the second year of my age, and when my sister Rosalie was an infant in arms. Our mother died a few weeks before him. Thus we were left orphans at an age when the hand of a parent is so peculiarly requisite. At this period my grandfather's [page 100:] circumstances were at a low ebb, he from great wealth having been reduced to poverty. It was therefore in his power to do little for us. My brother Henry he took however under his charge, while myself and Rosalie were adopted by gentlemen in Richmond, where we were at the period of our parents’ death. I was adopted by Mr Jno Allan of Richmond, Va: and she by Mr Wm McKenzie of the same place. Rosalie is still living at Mrs McKs still unmarried, and is treated as one of the family, being a favourite with all. I accompanied Mr Allan to England in my 7th year, and remained there at school 5 years since which I resided with Mr A. until a few years ago. The first Mrs A. having died, and Mr A having married again I found my situation not so comfortable as before, and obtained a Cadet's appointment at W. Point. During my stay there Mr A died suddenly, and left me — nothing. No will was found among his papers. I have accordingly been thrown entirely upon my own resources. Brought up to no profession, and educated in the expectation of an immense fortune (Mr A having been worth $750,000) the blow has been a heavy one, and I had nearly succumbed to its influence, and yielded to despair. But by the exertion of much resolution I am now beginning to look upon the matter in a less serious light, and although struggling still with many embarrassments, am enabled to keep up my spirits. I have lately obtained the Editorship of the Southern Messenger, and may probably yet do well.

Mrs Thompson, your aunt, is still living in Baltimore. George Poe of Baltimore allows her a small income.

In conclusion, I beg leave to assure you that whatever aid you may have it in your power to bestow upon Mrs Clemm will be given to one who well deserves every kindness and attention. Would to God! that I could at this moment aid her. She is now, whi[le] I write, struggling without friends, without money, and without health to support [herself] and 2 children. I sincerely pray God that the words which I am [now writing] may be the means of inducing you to unite wit[h] your brothers a[nd your fri]ends, and send her that immediate relief wh[ich] it is utterly out of [my p]ower to give her just now, and which, unless it reach her soon will, [I] am afraid, reach her too late. Entreating your attention to this subject I remain [page 101:]

Yours very truly & affectionately

Edgar A. Poe

It would give me the greatest pleasure to hear from you in reply.

To Mr Wm Poe

Note: William Poe (born 1802) was one of several children of Edgar's great Uncle, also named William. As a banker in Augusta, GA, he presumably had sufficient financial resources to provide the assistance Poe sought. He seems also to have been somewhat sympathetic with Mrs. Clemm's plight. In connection with this letter and the Poe family tree, see Mrs. Clemm to William Poe, October 7, 1835, printed in H [Works], 17:379-381 (under the wrong date of 1836; also see Quinn, p. 230, n. 16); see also, Quinn, pp. 16-17. Poe returns to this genealogical subject, with an interesting family chart, in a letter to George W. Poe, July 14, 1839 (LTR-79). Compare the biographical account from the present letter, with Poe's “autobiography” of May 29, 1841, given to Griswold as basis for his editorial headnote on Poe in the forthcoming Poets and Poetry of America (in H [Works], 1:343-346), slanted for a different purpose. The death-date of Edgar's father, David Poe, is unknown (see Quinn, p. 44); his mother died December 8, 1811 (Quinn, p. 45). Edgar went with the Allans to England in June 1815. Poe went to West Point in June 1830, before rather than after John Allan married for the second time; and Mr. Allan died, March 27, 1834 (see the notes to LTR- 36), three years after Poe left West Point (see LTR-29). Poe joined the SLM sometime between his letter to White, July 20 (LTR-46), and White's letter to Lucian Minor, August 18, 1835 (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 97-98).

The compound word “Martyr-like” is virtually a Poe coinage, with only one OED entry, dated 1580.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the New York Public Library, Berg Collection. The envelope is postmarked Richmond, August 20, and is directed to William Poe, Augusta, GA. A notarized copy of this letter, made July 16, 1903 (and authenticated by William T. Poe, grandson of William Poe), is now in the Library of Virginia. Although the copy itself contains inaccuracies, it does permit several restorations for torn places in the MS. William Poe answered Poe's letter, before October 6, 1835 (CL-105). Poe is replying to William Poe's letter of ca. August 17, 1835 (CL-92). [page 102:]

Letter 48 — 1835, August 29 [CL-97] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Mrs. Maria Clemm (and Miss Virginia E. Clemm) (Baltimore, MD):

Aug: 29th

My dearest Aunty,

I am blinded with tears while writing thi[s] letter — I have no wish to live another hour. Amid sorrow, [MS torn] and the deepest anxiety your letter reached — and you well know how little I am able to bear up under the pressure of grief. My bitterest enemy would pity me could he now read my heart — My last my last my only hold on life is cruelly torn away — I have no desire to live and will not. But let my duty be done. I love, you know I love Virginia passionately devotedly. I cannot express in words the fervent devotion I feel towards my dear little cousin — my own darling. But what can [I] say; Oh think for me for I am incapable of thinking. Al[l my] thoughts are occupied with the supposition that both you & she will prefer to go with N. Poe; I do sincerely believe that your comforts will for the present be secured — I cannot speak as regards your peace — your happiness. You have both tender hearts — and you will always have the reflection that my agony is more than I can bear — that you have driven me to the grave — for love like mine can never be gotten over. It is useless to disguise the truth that when Virginia goes with N. P. that I shall never behold her again — that is absolutely sure. Pity me, my dear Aunty, pity me. I have no one now to fly to — I am among strangers, and my wretchedness is more than I can bear. It is useless to expect advice forom [sic] me — what can I say? — Can I, in honour & in truth say — Virginia! do not go! — do not go where you can be comfortable & perhaps happy — and on the other hand can I calmly resign my — life itself. If she had truly loved me would she not have rejected th offer with scorn? Oh God have mercy on me! [page 2] If she goes with N. P. what are you to do, my own Aunty,? [sic]

I had procured a sweet little house in a retired situation on [ch]urch hill — newly done up and with a large garden and [eve]ry convenience — at only $5 per month. I have been dreaming [MS torn] every day & [page 103:] night since of the rapture I should feel in [havi]ng my only friends — all I love on Earth with me there, [and] the pride I would take in making you both comfor[table] & in calling her my wife — But the dream is over[.] [Oh G]od have mercy on me. What have I to live for? Among strangers with not one soul to love me.

The situation has this morning been conferred upon another. Branch T. [sic] Saunders. but White has engaged to make my salary $60 a month, and we could live in comparative comfort & happiness — even the $4 a week I am now paying for board would support us all — but I shall have $15 a week. & what need would we have of more? I had thought to send you on a little money every week until you could either hear from Hall or Wm Poe, and then we could get a [little] furniture for a start — for White will not be able [to a]dvance any. After that all would go well — or I would make a desperate exertion & try to borrow enough for that purpose. There is little danger of the house being taken immediately.

I would send you on $5 now — for White paid me the $8 2 days since — but you appear not to have received my last letter and I am afraid to trust it to the mail, as the letters are continually robbed. I have it for you & will keep it until I hear from you when I will send it & more if I get an[y] in the meantime. I wrote you that Wm Poe had written to me concerning you & has offered to assist you asking me questions concerning you which I answered. He will beyond doubt aid you shortly & with an effectual aid. Trust in God.

The tone of your letter wounds me to the soul — Oh Aunty, Aunty you loved me once — how can you be so cruel now? You speak of Virginia acquiring accomplishments, and entering into [page 3] society — you speak <also of> in so worldly a tone. Are you sure she would be more happy. Do you think any one could love her more dearly than I? She will have far — very far better opportunites [sic] of entering into society here than with N. P. Every one here receives me with open arms.

Adieu my dear Aunty. I cannot advise you. Ask Virginia. Leave it to her. Let me have, under her own hand, a letter, bidding me good bye [page 104:] — forever — and I [m]ay die — my heart will break — but I will say no more.


Kiss her for me — a million times[.]

For Virginia,

My love, my own sweetest Sissy, my darling little wifey, thi[nk w]ell before you break the heart of your cousin. Eddy.

I open this letter to inclose the 5$ — I have just received another letter from you announcing the rect of mine. My heart bleeds for you. Dearest Aunty consider my happiness while you are thinking about your own. I am saving all I can. The only money I have yet spent is 50 cts for washing — I have now 2,25. left. I will shortly send you more, Write immediately. I shall be all anxiety & dread until I hear from you. Try and convince my dear Virga how devotedly I love her. I wish you would get me th Republican wh: noticed the Messenger & send it on immediately by mail. God bless & protect you both.

Note: N. Poe and N. P. refer to Neilson Poe, of Baltimore, seven months younger than Poe (see Quinn, p. 725), who had married Josephine Clemm, Virginia's half-sister (see Quinn, p. 219). His daughter, Amelia F. Poe, in a letter to J. H. Ingram (Ingram Collection, University of Virginia), dated March 27, 1912, says that her father would not permit the above letter to be published. William Poe, of Augusta, GA, was Mrs. Clemm's first cousin; Poe had written to him in LTR-47. The identity of “Hall” is unknown. Poe's letter is carelessly written and shows his extreme agitation. Buried in it is what might be called the only extant letter from him to Virginia, other than LTR-232. This letter of entreaty, firmly offering marriage, reveals Poe's great stress which apparently led to his drinking and a sudden exit from the SLM, with a return to Baltimore and the possibility of a private marriage on September 22, 1835. Quinn & Hart (pp. 7-8) were doubtful about the early marriage ceremony, but TOM [Poems, 1:546, n. 7] accepts the event, citing “new” evidence. The name Saunders is well explicated by The Poe Log (p. 163), which notes that his rival's middle initial was “A” not “T.” Apparently, uncertain about the adequacy and permanency of White's SLM post, Poe had [page 105:] applied for a widely advertised position as “Professor of English” in the Richmond Academy, of which Charles Ellis, John Allan's partner, was a trustee — and perhaps unlikely to recommend Poe to the deciding Board. According to N. H. Morison, writing to J. H. Ingram on November 27, 1874, “To prevent so premature a marriage, Nelson [sic] Poe offered to take the young lady, his half-sister-in-law, into his own family, educate her, & take care of her — with the understanding that, if, after a few years, the two young people should feel the same towards each other, they should be married” (quoted in Miller, BPB, p. 52). Poe's focus upon this steady salary and respectable status as “Professor” was an inducement to Mrs. Clemm and her daughter to refuse Neilson's invitation. Pollin argues that Mrs. Clemm, concerned that Neilson's offer included support for Virginia but nothing for herself, manipulated Edgar into the marriage (see Pollin, “Maria Clemm, Poe's Aunt,” MissQ, 48:213-214).

Source: original MS (3 pp.) in the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The year date is established by internal and external evidence: Poe was in Richmond in August 1835, and Mrs. Clemm was in Baltimore; the postal cancellation shows Richmond, VA, August 29; and the envelope is directed to Mrs. William Clemm, Baltimore, MD. Mrs. Clemm and Virginia joined Poe in Richmond on October 3, 1835, according to a letter from Mrs. Clemm to William Poe, October 7, 1835 (see Quinn, p. 230, n.16). The MS is badly torn and worn, page 3 especially. Poe is replying to Mrs. Clemm's letter written sometime between August 20-26 (CL-95), after receipt of one from Poe (CL-94) saying William Poe had written him offering to assist her; and to a letter just received from her (CL-96, probably dated Aug. 27-28).

Letter 49 — 1835, September 4 [CL-98] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John Neal (Boston, MA):

Richmond, Va: Sep: 4. 1835.

My Dear Sir,

Herewith I send a number of the Southern Literary Messenger, a Magazine of which I have lately obtained the Editorship. Do you think you could send me regularly in exchange, The Galaxy or any other paper of wh: you have the control? I should be extremely glad to hear [page 106:] from you, altho’ I suppose you have almost forgotten our former correspondence. When you reply to this I will write you more fully — for I have much to tell you.

Very truly & respectfully Yours

Edgar A. Poe

John Neal.

Note: Between July 20, 1835, when Poe wrote Thomas W. White from Baltimore (LTR-46), and August 18, 1835, when White wrote Lucian Minor, Poe went to Richmond to assist White in editing the SLM. Though Poe in his correspondence speaks of himself as editor of the magazine, White was slow in officially referring to him in that capacity. In the August 18 letter to Minor he says: “Mr. Poe is here also. — He tarries one month — and will aid me all that lies in his power” (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 98). Again to Minor, October 24, 1835, White says: “... the paper is now under my own editorial management ... You may introduce Mr. Poe's name as amongst those engaged to contribute to its columns — taking care not to say as editor” — he had said about the same thing in his letter to Minor, September 8, stating that Poe would give him “some assistance ... in proof-reading” (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 103-104 and 98). However, White wrote to William Scott, proprietor of the New York Weekly Messenger, August 25, 1836: “Courtesy to Mr. Poe whom I employ to edit my paper makes it a matter of etiquette with me to submit all articles intended for the Messenger to his judgment and I abide by his dicta” (see The Poe Log, p. 221). Furthermore, writing to Tucker, December 27, 1836, White said: “Highly as I really think of Mr. Poe's talents, I shall be forced to give him notice in a week or so at farthest that I can no longer recognize him as editor of my Messenger. Three months ago I felt it my duty to give him a similar notice, — and was afterwards over-persuaded to restore him to his situation on certain conditions — which conditions he has again forfeited” (see Wilson, “Unpublished Letters of EAP,” Century Magazine, 107:656 and Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 110). “The Galaxy” was the New-England Galaxy (1817-1837?); Neal claimed editorship of it in 1835 (see American Magazines, 1:127).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The separate sheet for the envelope is lost. A note in an unknown hand reads “Edgar A. Poe Died.” There is no evidence that Neal replied to Poe's letter. [page 107:]

Letter 50 — 1835, September 11 [CL-101] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Richmond Sep: 11th 1835

Dear Sir,

I received a letter yesterday from Dr Miller in which he tells me you are in town. I hasten, therefore, to write you — and express by letter what I have always found it impossible to express orally — my deep sense of gratitude for your frequent and effectual assistance and kindness. Through your influence Mr White has been induced to employ me in assisting him with the Editorial duties of his Magazine at a salary of $520 per annum. The situation is agreable to me for many reasons — but alas! it appears to me that nothing can now give me pleasure — or the slightest gratification. Excuse me, my dear Sir, if in this letter you find much incoherency. My feelings at this moment are pitiable indeed. I am suffering under a depression of spirits such as I have never felt before. I have struggled in vain against the influence of this melancholy — You will believe me when I say that I am still miserable in spite of the great improvement in my circumstances. I say you will believe me, and for this simple reason, that a man who is writing for effect does not write thus. My heart is open before you — if it be worth reading, read it. I am wretched, and know not why. Console me — for you can. But let it be quickly — or it will be too late. Write me immediately. Convince me that it is worth one's while — that it is at all necessary to live, and you will prove yourself indeed my friend. Persuade me to do what is right. I do not mean this — I do not mean that you should consider what I now write you a jest — oh pity me! for I feel that my words are incoherent — but I will recover myself. You will not fail to see that I am suffering under a depression of spirits which will <not fail to> ruin me should it be long continued. Write me then, and quickly. Urge me to do what is right. Your words will have more weight with me than the words of others — for you were my friend when no one else was. Fail not — as you value your peace of mind hereafter.

E A. Poe. [page 108:]

Mr White desires me to say that if you could send him any contribution for the Messenger it would serve him most effectually. I would consider it a personal favour if you could do so without incommoding yourself. I will write you more fully hereafter.

John P. Kennedy Esqr

(Turn over)

[page 2] I see “the Gift” is out. They have published the M.S. found in a Bottle (, the prize tale you will remember,) although I not only told Mr Carey myself that it had been published, but wrote him to that effect after my return to Baltimore, and sent him another tale in place of it (Epimanes). I cannot understand why they have published it — or why they have not published either “Siope” or “Epimanes.”

Mr White is willing to publish my Tales of the Folio Club — that is to print them. Would you oblige me by ascertaining from Carey & Lea whether they would, in that case, appear nominally as the publishers, the books, when printed, being sent on to them, as in the case of H. S. Robinson?

Have you seen the “Discoveries in the Moon”? Do you not think it altogether suggested by Hans Phaal? It is very singular, — but when I first purposed writing a Tale concerning the Moon, the idea of Telescopic discoveries suggested itself to me — but I afterwards abandoned it. I had however spoken of it freely, & from many little incidents & apparently trivial remarks in those Discoveries I am convinced that the idea was stolen from myself.

Yours most sincerely

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Dr. James Henry Miller (1788-1853) was one of the judges in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter contest of 1833 (see the note for LTR-39). For the date of Poe's joining Thomas W. White and the SLM, see the note to LTR-49; Kennedy had interceded with White to employ Poe in the editing of the magazine (see Quinn, p. 208). Probably within the week following the present letter, White was forced to sever Poe's connection with the Messenger; though White, in his letter to Lucian Minor, September 21, [page 109:] 1835 (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 99-100), said: “Poe has flew the track already,” giving melancholy and drink as the causes; his letter to Poe, September 29, 1835 (CL-104), clearly indicates drinking as the chief reason for White's action. Moreover, White's letter to Poe indicates a letter from Poe (unlocated), datable about September 15-20, 1835 (CL-102), perhaps a few days later, asking reinstatement. Upon receipt of White's letter of September 29, 1835, Poe must have gone back to Richmond and the Messenger, for by October 8 he was writing to Robert M. Bird (LTR-51) “at the request of “ White. Thus the despondency in the first part of the present letter to Kennedy was probably occasioned by the uncertainty of Poe's position on the Messenger. Page 2 of the letter, from its more confident tone, seems to have been written a day or two after the first; White may have promised Poe another opportunity to prove himself. Moreover, the delayed mailing of the letter would tend to account for the elapsed time between the date it was begun and Kennedy's reply (CL-103), September 19, a reply that Kennedy, under the circumstances, would surely have been rather quick to send. Nevertheless, Poe was gone from Richmond when Kennedy's letter arrived, and it was forwarded to Baltimore, September 22, 1835. Poe's unlocated letter (CL-81) from Baltimore to Henry C. Carey, of Carey & Lea, concerning “MS. Found in a Bottle” (originally published in the Saturday Visiter, October 19, 1833; and reprinted in The Gift for 1836) is authenticated by Carey's letter to Kennedy, May 18, 1835 (see Campbell, “The Kennedy Papers,” Sewanee Review, 25:197-198): “Poe has written me to say that the tale selected by Miss Leslie has been printed already ... I would have written him but that his letter is only now received and I am excessively busy.” Thus Poe's letter to Carey may be dated before May 18, 1835. Nothing came of Poe's suggestion about his Tales of the Folio Club. Kennedy was the author of Horse-Shoe Robinson (1835). Concerning “Hans Phaal” and “Discoveries in the Moon,” see Poe's “Literati” article on Richard Adams Locke (H [Works], 15:126-137). For the odd spelling of “Hans Pfaal,” see the notes to LTR-46. For a full treatment of Poe's chagrin and many reasons for raising to Kennedy the issue of Locke's “Moon Hoax,” see notes to “Hans Pfaall” (Writings, 1:492-94, nn. 80-81).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Peabody Institute Library. It is written on both sides of a single leaf; there is no cover extant. Poe is not replying to a letter from Kennedy; but Kennedy seems to have written Poe a note to accompany some money that he forwarded from Thomas W. White to Poe (see LTR-43). The note or letter, [page 110:] unlocated, may be dated ca. May 21-25, 1835 (CL-83). The unlocated letter from Dr. Miller, suggests a communication from Poe to Dr. Miller; the letter from Dr. Miller may be dated September 8-9 (CL-100), and Poe's to Dr. Miller, before September 8, 1835 (CL-99).

Letter 51 — 1835, October 8 [CL-106] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Robert M. Bird (Philadelphia, PA):

Richmond Oct. 8, 1835

[Dear Sir,]

At the request of Mr. Thomas W. White, Proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger,” published in this city, I take the liberty of addressing you, and soliciting your aid in the way of occasional or regular contributions to his Magazine. Being well aware that your time is fully occupied, I confess that I have little hope of being able so far to interest you in behalf of a merely Southern Journal as to obtain that assistance which you have refused to your more immediate neighbours. But the value of any contribution you might afford us rendered it incumbent upon me to make the attempt, at all events, in accordance with his desire.

Very respt. Yr. ob. st.

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Dr. Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854) received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1827, and taught 1841-1843 at the Pennsylvania Medical College. Although he occasionally wrote poetry, he was primarily a novelist and dramatist. Poe reviewed Bird's Hawks of Hawk-Hollow (SLM, December 1835, 2:43-46; reprinted in H [Works], 8:63-73, and Writings, 5:50-53) and Sheppard Lee (SLM, September 1836, 2:662-667; reprinted in H [Works], 9:126-139, and Writings, 5:282-286). He appears in Poe's “Autography” (SLM, February 1836, 2:205-212; reprinted in H [Works], 15:156, and TOM [T&S], 2:259-291) and his “Chapter on Autography” (Graham's, November 1841, 19:234; reprinted in H [Works], 15:203-204). Some bibliographies attribute to Poe the SLM reviews of Bird's Calavar (February 1835, 1:315) and The Infidel (June 1835, 2:582-585; reprinted in H [Works], [page 111:] 8:32-37), but these are confidently rejected in Writings, 5:18-19. Worth noting is Bird's appearance late in Such Friends as no. 219, with the comment: “Rob. M. Bird — find him” (pp. 17 and 20).

Source: transcript of the text as printed in Anderson Galleries sale catalog, November 13-14, 1916, item 71. The letter was described as a one page quarto, addressed to Dr. R. M. Bird, Philadelphia. Only two letters are known from Poe to Bird, and two replies from Bird may be assumed: the first of these replies, late 1835 or early 1836 (CL-111a), in which a “demi-promise ... in relation to an article for our Southern Literary Messenger” was made (see LTR-65); the second, after June 7 (CL-148), probably a note accompanying his poem “The Pine Wood,” contributed to the SLM (August 1836, 2:541).

Letter 51a — 1835, October 31 [CL-107] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Lucian Minor (Charlottesville, VA):

Richmond, October 31, 1835

[.... .]

I will hand your translation to Mr. Poe in the morning, and will attend to your request touching keeping your name secret.

[Thomas W. White]

Note: Lucian Minor (1802-1858) was a lawyer in Louisa County, VA. His series “Letters from New England” was published in the SLM, owned by Thomas W. White, from November 1834-April 1835, and his “Address on Education” appeared in the SLM in December 1835 (2:17-24), while Poe was editor. In 1855 Minor became Professor of Law at the College of William and Mary (see the DAB, 13:27). TOM [Poems, 1:507, item 50] suggests that the translation” was “Hymn, in Honor of Harmodius and Aristogiton,” signed only as “P” in the SLM, and sometimes erroneously attributed to Poe. The present letter is interesting because it shows Poe serving as amanuensis for White (see also the note to LTR-99); however, despite the third-person reference to “Mr. Poe,” Poe probably not only wrote the letter but also formulated most of its content, White merely signing it. [page 112:]

Source: transcript of the fragment printed in the Anderson Galleries sale catalog, April 25-27, 1916, item 465. The Merwin-Clayton sales catalog, January 18, 1911, item 255, described the MS as a 1 page octavo. Both catalogs agree that the letter was written by Poe but signed by Thomas W. White, and that Poe addressed the envelope to Lucian Minor, the Anderson Galleries catalog giving his address as Charlottesville, VA.

Letter 51b — 1835, ca. November 26 (?) [CL-107a] Poe (Richmond, VA) to — ? (Baltimore, MD ?):

[ ...]ber. [ ...] there can be no impropriety in telling [ ...] the commencement of Vol 2. the editorial [ ...] have devolved upon myself, and [ ...] you allude to are my own. I [ ...] with your approbation of my labours. [ ...] would be very glad to hear from you [ ... ] I believe you had some little acquain-[tance ... with my br]other W. H. L. Poe of Baltimore.

Very resply

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Note: The second volume of the SLM, to which the letter evidently refers, began with the December 1835 issue, available about November 26, 1835. (Beginning with the inaugural issue of August 1834, the SLM suffered from a very erratic publishing schedule for the first two volumes, with volume I containing the unusual number of thirteen issues. Volume III began a more traditional alignment with the calendar in January 1837.) Based on surviving letters from T. W. White to Lucian Minor (September 8 and October 20, 1835; see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 98-99 and 102-103), it is known that Poe wrote all of the editorial reviews for the issues of August and September 1835. Burton R. Pollin and Joseph V. Ridgely (Writings, vol. 5), Hull and other authorities grant Poe the authorship of most of the critical notices for volume II. (There are, it should be noted, some important exceptions, such as the Drayton-Paulding review in the issue for April 1836.) “W. H. L. Poe” was Edgar's older brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, who died in Baltimore in 1831. Henry dabbled in poetry and prose, and seems to have had a circle of literary friends in Baltimore, including Lambert A. Wilmer and [page 113:] Frederick W. Thomas, as well as a number of professional contacts, particularly at the North American (Baltimore, MD). According to TOM [Poems], Henry “probably knew the Baltimore poet Edward Coote Pinkney” (1:515). Describing the lively literary scene in Baltimore in the 1820s, Allen and Mabbott mention Coale's Bookstore and “Mistress Foy's Tavern where [John Hill] Hewitt and Rufus Dawes might drop in for talk and song and punch” (Poe's Brother, p. 26). By 1835, Edgar had already established some contact with John Neal, William Wirt (both of whom wrote to Edgar in a casual and friendly manner), and William Gwynn (who had employed Edgar's cousin, Neilson Poe). Although none of these men are known to have had any association with Henry, all lived in Baltimore prior to 1831 and were clearly willing to encourage a young writer. Phillips (1:438) says that Poe's communications with F. W. Thomas date from a letter of March 1836, not described in more detail, in which case Poe's correspondent for the present letter might be Thomas.

Source: color photograph of the original MS (fragment) in the Poe Foundation. This fragment is the lower right quarter of a sheet of blue paper, apparently preserved by someone who was interested only in the signature. A note accompanying the fragment states that it “was given to the Poe Museum in October 1969 by Mrs. Rosewell Page. It once was the property of Thomas Nelson Page, her brother-in-law.” (Other property from the estate of Thomas Nelson Page, of Oakland, Virginia, the famous Southern writer, was auctioned off in October of 1931 by the American Art Association, Anderson Galleries.)

Letter 52 — 1835, December 1 [CL-110] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Beverley Tucker (Williamsburg, VA):


Dec: 1. 35.

Dear Sir,

Mr White was so kind as to read me some portions of your letter to himself, dated Nov 29, and I feel impelled, as much by gratitude for your many friendly expressions of interest in my behalf, as by a desire to make some little explanations, to answer, personally, the passages alluded to. [page 114:]

And firstly — in relation to your own verses. That they are not poetry I will not allow, even when judging them by your own rules. A very cursory perusal enabled me, when I first saw them, to point out many instances of the B@40F4l you mention. Had I the lines before me now I would particularize them. But is there not a more lofty species of originality than originality of individual thoughts or individual passages? I doubt very much whether a composition may not even be full of original things, and still be pure imitation as a whole. On the other hand I have seen writings, devoid of any new thought, and frequently destitute of any new expression — writings which I could not help considering as full of creative power. But I have no wish to refine, and I dare say you have little desire that I should do so. What is, or is not, poetry must not be told in a mere epistle. I sincerely think your lines excellent.

The distinction you make between levity, and wit or humour (that which produces a smile) I perfectly understand; but that levity is unbecoming the chair of the critic, must be taken, I think, cum grano salis. Moreover — are you sure Jeffrey was never jocular or frivolous in his critical opinions? I think I can call to mind some instances of the purest grotesque in his Reviews — downright horse-laughter. Did you ever see a critique in Blackwood's Mag: upon an Epic Poem by a cockney tailor? Its chief witticisms were aimed not at the poem, but at the goose, and bandy legs of the author, and the notice ended, after innumerable oddities in — “ha! ha! ha! — he! he! he! — hi! hi! hi! — ho! ho! ho! — hu! hu! hu”! Yet it was, without exception, the most annihilating, and altogether the most effective Review I remember to have read. Of course I do not mean to palliate such indecency. The reviewer should have >>been<< horsewhipped. Still I cannot help thinking levity here was indispensable. Indeed how otherwise the subject could have been treated I do not perceive. To treat a tailor's Epic seriously, (and such an Epic too!) would have defeated the ends of the critic, in weakening his own authority by making himself ridiculous.

Your opinion of ‘The MS. found in a Bottle’ is just. The Tale was written some years ago, and was one among the first I ever wrote. I [page 115:] have met with no one, with the exception of yourself & P. P. Cooke of Winchester, whose judgment concerning these Tales I place any value upon. Generally, people praise extravagantly those of which I am ashamed, and pass in silence what I fancy to be praise worthy. The last tale I wrote was Morella and it was my best. When I write again I will write something better than Morella. At present, having no time upon my hands, from my editorial duties, I can write nothing worth reading. What articles I have published since Morella were all written some time ago. I mention this to account for the “mere physique” of [page 2] the horrible which prevails in the “M.S. found in a Bottle”. I do not think I would be guilty of a similar absurdity now. One or two words more of Egotism.

I do not entirely acquiesce in your strictures on the versification of my Drama. I find that versification is a point on which, very frequently, persons who agree in all important particulars, differ very essentially. I do not remember to have known any two persons agree, thoroughly, about metre. I have >>been<< puzzled to assign a reason for this — but can find none more satisfactory than that music is a most indefinite conception. I have made prosody, in all languages which I have studied, a particular subject of inquiry. I have written many verses, and read more than you would be inclined to imagine. In short — I especially pride myself upon the accuracy of my ear — and have established the fact of its accuracy, to my own satisfaction at least, by some odd chromatic experiments. I was therefore astonished to find you objecting to the melody of my lines. Had I time just now, and were I not afraid of tiring you, I would like to discuss this point more fully. There is much room for speculation here. Your own verses (I remarked this, upon first reading them, to Mr White) are absolutely faultless, if considered as “pure harmony” — I mean to speak technically — “without the intervention of any discords”. I was formerly accustomed to write thus, and it would be an easy thing to convince you of the accuracy of my ear by writing such at present — but imperceptibly the love of these discords grew upon me as my love of music grew stronger, and I at length came to feel all the melody of Pope's later versification, and that of the present T. Moore. I should [page 116:] like to hear from you on this subject. The Dream was admitted solely thro’ necessity. I know not the author.

In speaking of my mother you have touched a string to which my heart fully responds. To have known her is to be an object of great interest in my eyes. I myself never knew her — and never knew the affection of a father. Both died (as you may remember) within a few weeks of each other. I have many occasional dealings with Adversity — but the want of parental affection has been the heaviest of my trials.

I would be proud if you would honor me frequently with your criticism. Believe me when I say that I value it. I would be gratified, also, if you write me in reply to this letter. It will assure me that you have excused my impertinence in addressing you without a previous acquaintance.

Very respy & sincerely

Y. ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Judge Beverly [sic] Tucker.

Note: Nathaniel Beverley Tucker (1784-1851), a native Virginian, was Professor of Law at William and Mary College. He was an early contributor to the SLM, and was the author of George Balcombe (1836), reviewed by Poe in the SLM (January 1837, 3:49-58; reprinted in H [Works], 9:243-265, and Writings, 5:336-344), and of The Partisan Leader (1836).The Greek word “B@40F4l” is correctly spelled by Poe, although in the 1948 edition of The Letters the medial sigma was misread as an omicron. This favorite bit of Poe's erudition came from Bielfeld's Universal Erudition, 2, ch. vi. For other instances in Poe, see note to “Pinakidia” (Writings, 2:94, item 152). “Jeffrey” was Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850), a founder of the Edinburgh Review, in 1802, assuming the editorial reins shortly afterwards. Initially, he unfavorably reviewed the writings of such luminaries as Keats, Shelley, and Wordsworth, although he later revised his views of their works. (Poe's own negative impressions of Wordsworth were prominently expressed in his introductory “Letter to B ——,” in Poems, 1831.) See TOM [T&S], 2:658, n. 4, for Poe's invention of the derisive laughter recorded and used elsewhere. Although Poe may not be indicating an actual review in Blackwood's, it is perhaps unfair to assume that he is entirely inventing such laughter; in Our Press Gang (1859), L. A. Wilmer comments: “What! are wise editors a rarity? [page 117:] Methinks I hear a sound which resembles the laughing chorus in a Dutch opera. Ha! ha! ha! he! he! he! hi! hi! hi! ho! ho! ho!” (p. 66). Poe's “MS. Found in a Bottle” first appeared in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, October 19, 1833. For Poe's praise of Cooke's critical acumen, see LTR-82. “Morella” first appeared in the SLM, April 1835. Three scenes from Poe's drama Politian were published in the SLM, December 1835. Mrs. Poe died in Richmond, December 8, 1811; but nothing definite is known concerning the death of David Poe. To White, Tucker had written, “... if I do not mistake his [Poe's] filiation, I remember his beautiful mother when a girl” (see Quinn, p. 235). Poe's use of “physique,” usually as though French, varies greatly, here seeming to be the appearance or representation of the horrifying. Although the effective weirdness of the “MS. Found in a Bottle” has none of the “bad taste” of “Berenice” — which, in his letter to White (LTR-42), he had vowed to eliminate — still to come were the cannibalism of Pym, the dismemberment of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and the putrescence of “Valdemar.”

Source: color photograph of the original MS (2 pp.) in the University of Virginia. The envelope, a separate leaf, is addressed to “Judge Beverly [sic] Tucker / Williamsburg / Va:” and is postmarked at Richmond, December 3. Poe's signature bears a slight paraph. Poe is replying to Tucker's letter to T. W. White, November 29, 1835 (MS in the Boston Public Library; printed in part in Quinn, pp. 234-235). Tucker replied to the present letter, December 5, 1835 (CL-111).

Letter 53 — 1836, January 12 [CL-112] Poe (Richmond, VA) to George Poe, Jr. (Mobile, AL):

Richmond. Jan: 12, 1836.

Dear Sir

I take the liberty of addressing you in behalf of a mutual relation, Mrs William Clemm, late of Baltimore — and at her earnest solicitation.

You are aware that for many years she has been suffering privations and difficulties of no ordinary kind. I know that you have assisted her at a former period, and she has occasionally received aid from her [page 118:] cousins, William and Robert Poe, of Augusta. What little has been heretofore in my own power I have also done.

Having lately established myself in Richmond, and undertaken the Editorship of the Southern Literary Messenger, and my circumstances having thus become better than formerly, I have ventured to offer my aunt a home. She is now therefore in Richmond, with her daughter Virginia, and is, for the present boarding at the house of a Mrs Yarrington. My salary is only at present, about $800 per ann: and the charge per week for our board, (Mrs Clemm's, her daughter's, and my own,) is $9. I am thus particular in stating my precise situation that you may be the better enabled to judge in regard to the propriety of granting the request which I am now about to make for Mrs Clemm.

It is ascertained that if Mrs C. could obtain the means of opening, herself, a boarding-house in this city, she could support herself and daughter comfortably with something to spare. But a small capital would be necessary for an undertaking of this nature, and many of the widows of our first people are engaged in it, and find it profitable. I am willing to advance, for my own part, $100, and I believe that Wm & R. Poe will advance $100. If then you would so far aid her in her design as to loan her, Yourself 100, she will have sufficient to commence with. I will be responsible for the repayment of the sum, in a year from this date, if you can make it convenient to comply with her request.

I beg you, my dear Sir, to take this subject into consideration. I feel deeply for the distresses of Mrs Clemm, and I am sure you will feel interested in relieving them.

[signature cut out]

P.S) I am the son of David Poe Jr. Mrs Cs brother

Note: George Poe, Jr. (1778-1864) was a banker in Mobile at the time of the present letter, and apparently a man of some financial means (see Quinn, p. 33). He was the grandson of John Poe, and therefore Mrs. Clemm's first cousin. (See also Poe's genealogical letter of July 14, 1839, LTR-79). Mrs. Clemm and Virginia joined Poe in Richmond, in October 1835. William Poe (born 1802), of Augusta, GA, was another cousin, to whom [page 119:] Poe wrote giving family relationships and soliciting aid for Mrs. Clemm (LTR-47). Robert Forsyth Poe (died 1854) was William's brother (see Mrs. Clemm to William Poe, October 7, 1835, printed in H [Works], 17:379-381; and see also LTR-60 and LTR-97), and he also lived in Augusta, GA. For Mrs. Clemm's letter to George Poe, thanking him for the money, see Quinn & Hart, p. 15. Nothing ever came of the “boardinghouse” idea.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The envelope is postmarked Richmond, January 12, and directed to George Poe, Mobile, AL. The signature, including the complimentary close and perhaps part of the postscript, has been cut away, but Poe is obviously the writer. On the verso of the MS, George Poe wrote: “Edgar A. Poe / 12 Jan. 1836 / recd / ans. 12 Feb. / Sent check for / $100.

Letter 53a — 1836, January 21 [CL-113] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Edward L. Carey and Abraham Hart (Philadelphia, PA):


Jany: 21 1835 [1836]

Messrs Carey & Hart,


Could you oblige the Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger by sending him on a copy of Rienzi (Bulwer's novel) by mail. We wish to review it in the next number of the Magazine, and otherwise will not obtain it in time. If you can oblige us so far as to send the volume, please envelop it carefully, and mark on it the number of printed sheets it contains.

Very respy.

Yr. Ob. St.

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Poe presumably took great pride in writing to Carey & Hart in his capacity as editor of the SLM. The Philadelphia publishers appear to have complied with his request, as Poe reviewed Rienzi in the SLM (February 1836, 2:197-201; reprinted in H [Works], 7:222-229, and Writings, [page 120:] 5:121-125). The long and seminal review of Bulwer's novel is unusually favorable for Poe. Rienzi is noted as “the best novel of Bulwer,” and Bulwer himself is praised for “illimitable faculties of mind [making him] unequalled ... unapproached” (Writings, 5:121). For Poe's extensive use of this novel, see Pollin, “Bulwer's Rienzi as Multiple Source for Poe,” PS, 29:66-68. Poe subsequently reviewed Bulwer's writings in Graham's Magazine and the BJ (Writings, 3:18-21).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the library of Princeton University. No address accompanies the letter unless it appears on the verso of the MS, which is pasted down flat in an album. The correct year date is established by the fact that Poe did not become editor of the SLM until after July 20, 1835 (see note to LTR-49) and by the fact that he reviewed Rienzi as noted above.

Letter 54 — 1836, January 22 [CL-114] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):


Jany 22. 1836.

Dear Sir,

Although I have never yet acknowledged the receipt of your kind letter of advice some months ago, it was not without great influence upon me. I have, since then, fought the enemy manfully, and am now, in every respect, comfortable and happy. I know you will be pleased to hear this. My health is better than for years past, my mind is fully occupied, my pecuniary difficulties have vanished, I have a fair prospect of future success — in a word all is right. I shall never forget to whom all this happiness is in great degree to be attributed. I know that without your timely aid I should have sunk under my trials.

Mr White is very liberal, and besides my salary of 520$ pays me liberally for extra work, so that I receive nearly $800. Next year, that is at the commencement of the second volume, I am to get $1000. Besides this I receive, from publishers, nearly all new publications. My friends in Richmond have received me with open arms, and my reputation is extending — especially in the South. Contrast all this [page 121:] with those circumstances of absolute despair in which you found me, and you will see how great reason I have to be grateful to God — and to yourself.

Some matters in relation to the death of Mrs Catherine Clemm, who resided at Mount Prospect, four miles from Baltimore, render it necessary for me to apply to an attorney, and I have thought it probable you would be kind enough to advise me.

Mrs Catherine Clemm was the widow of William Clemm Sr (the owner of Clemm's lot). At his death, one third of Clemm's lot passed to his widow — to be divided at her death among the heirs of Mr C. She is now dead. The heirs are Mr C's surviving children, and the children of his deceased children. He had in all 5 children — William, John, James, Eliza, and Joseph. Of these Eliza and Joseph are living — and inherit each 1/5 of the 1/3. Another 1/5 will be divided among the children of John, another 1/5 among the children of James, and the remaining 1/5 among the children of William. It is in relation to this last 1/5 I desire to call your attention. Mrs Clemm, the widow of William Clemm Jr is now residing under my protection in Richmond. She has two children who have an interest in this 1/5 — one of them, Virginia, is living with her here — the other, Henry, is absent (at sea). William Clemm Jr had seven children in all — the 1/5 is to be divided among the seven. 5 of the children are in Baltimore (being Mr C's children by a former wife) the other two Henry & Virginia I have already spoken of. They are the children of Mr C by a second wife & share equally with the rest. Each (Henry & Virginia) then, <ar> is entitled to 1/7 of 1/5 of 1/3 = 1/105 of the whole lot. Mrs Catherine Clemm's 1/3 is to be sold immediately and the money divided as stated. Of this 1/3 Henry and Virginia are entitled (each) to 1/7 of 1/3 = 1/35.

Mr James M. McCulloch, who has an office under Barnums, is the attorney for Mr C's children by his first wife, and what I would wish is that you would see justice done to his children by his second.

[page 2] I am entirely ignorant of all law matters, and know not what steps should be taken. Mrs Wm Clemm (now living in Richmond) [page 122:] wishes me (if possible) to be appointed the guardian of her 2 children. Henry is seventeen and Virginia 15. Will you be so good as to write me in reply, and give me advice. There is other property of which (I believe) Henry & Virginia are heirs precisely in the same way as of the lot. Mr McCulloch will give every information.

<A> I should be glad to have your opinion in regard to my Editorial course in the Messenger. How do you like my Critical Notices?

I have understood (from the Preface to your 3d Edition of Horse-Shoe) that you are engaged in another work. If so, can you not send me on a copy in advance of the publication?

Remember me to your family, and believe me with the highest respect and esteem.

Yours very truly

Edgar A. Poe.

John P Kennedy Esqr

Note: For Kennedy's aid to Poe, see the notes to LTR-50. Based on family records kept by Amelia F. Poe, William and Catherine Clemm had five children: William, Jr. (1779-1826), John (1780-1814), James Sayre (born 1786), Joseph Ettwine (1787-1864), and Elizabeth (1789-1863). (Elizabeth married Samuel Tschudy.) In addition to Henry and Virginia, the children of Maria and William Clemm, Jr. (and one other daughter, deceased in 1822), there were five children from an earlier marriage between Harriet and William Clemm, Jr. (see the table for LTR-79). No inheritance was paid (see Kennedy to Poe, April 26, 1836, CL-135). Nothing more is known of Henry Clemm. Kennedy's new work may have been Rob of the Bowl: A Legend of St. Inigoes (Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 2 vols., 1838). In noting that he receives “nearly all new publications,” Poe is implying that he sells them for added income.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Peabody Institute Library. Poe is replying to Kennedy's letter of September 19, 1835 (CL-103).

Letter 55 — 1836, February 5 [CL-117] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Lucian Minor (Charlottesville, VA):

Richmond February 5. 1836

[page 123:]

Dear Sir

At Mr Whites’ request I enclose you the sheets of the Messenger. In your article on “The Necessity of Selection in Reading” you will perceive that the original heading is abbreviated to “Selection in Reading”. This was necessary in order to preserve uniformity in the captions throughout — it being impossible to get in what you intended, and what, indeed, would have been most proper, except by making use of smaller type than what is used in the other articles.

Very respy and truly yours

Lucian Minor Esqr. Edgar A Poe

It was thought better upon consideration to omit all passages in “Liberian Literature” at which offence could, by any possibility, be taken. We availed ourselves of your consent to do so.

Note: For information on Lucian Minor, see notes to LTR-51a. “Selection in Reading” (unsigned) was printed in the SLM, February 1836, 2:141; and “Liberian Literature” (unsigned), in the SLM, February 1836, 2:158-159. The necessity of shortening the title was apparently so that it would fit on one line within the column.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in Boston Public Library. The envelope is directed to Charlottesville, VA, shows a postal cancellation of February 13, and has a note, possibly in Minor's hand: “recd 16th Feb. 1836.”

Letter 56 — 1836, February 9 [CL-119] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Stephen G. Bulfinch (Augusta, GA):


Feb: 9, 1836.

Dr Sir,

It has been suggested to the Proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger that an application in its behalf, individually, to one or two of your most influential citizens, would meet with a favourable result. [page 124:] I therefore take the liberty of addressing you this letter, and soliciting, in the name, and for the sake of Southern Literature, your interest and good offices for the Magazine.

The February number, as a specimen, is forwarded herewith.

Very respy.

Yr. Ob. St.

Edgar A. Poe.

Rev: S. G. Bulfinch

Notes: The Reverend Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch (1809-1870), a native Bostonian, became a Unitarian clergyman in Augusta, GA, 1830-1837. He published a number of religious works and a book of poems; he was also editor of a Unitarian hymnal (see Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1:444). Poe included him in Such Friends as no. 117 (pp. 14 and 21). His letter to Poe, May 3, 1836 (CL-137), in which he sent contributions for the Messenger, was apparently in response to Poe's invitation (see LTR-69). In all probability, the suggestion made to the proprietor, Thomas W. White, came from Poe.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles. The envelope, on the last sheet, is addressed: “Richmond, Va., Feb. 13,” and bears the notation: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq. / Poe. Richmond / Feb. 13. 1836.”

Letter 57 — 1836, February 11 [CL-120] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Dr Sir,

I received your kind letter of the 9th about an hour ago, and went immediately in search of Mr Hubard — but have not been successful in getting the picture. Mr H. does not live in Richmond, but at Gloucester C.H. Va: By the merest accident, however, he was here to-day — having arrived yesterday, and intending to be off tomorrow. Before speaking to him I had ascertained that the picture was not in Richmond. Had it been here I would have obtained it at all hazards. He says that it is on its way to Baltimore — but I do not believe him. [page 125:] He had forgotten the name of the vessel in which he shipped it — thinks it was the Todsbury — and cannot tell who is her captain. It is possible that the picture is really on its way to Norfolk, where he is bound himself, and where he will exhibit it. But my firm impression is that it is at his house in Gloucester — opposite York. He has evidently no intention to give it up. I know a Mr Colin Clarke who resides in Gloucester — a gentleman of high respectability — and had some idea of writing him, and requesting him to get the picture in your name — but, upon second thoughts, determined to write you first. I will go to any trouble in the world to get it for you — if you will direct me in what manner to proceed.

You are nearly, but not altogether right in relation to the satire of some of my Tales. Most of them were intended for half banter, half satire — although I might not have fully acknowledged this to be their aim even to myself. “Lionizing” and “Loss of Breath” were satires properly speaking — at least so meant — the one of the rage for Lions and the facility of becoming one — the other of the extravagancies of Blackwood.

I find no difficulty in keeping pace with the demands of the [page 2] Magazine. In the February number, which is now in the binder's hands, are no less than 40 pages of Editorial — perhaps this is a little de trop.

There was no November number issued — Mr W. having got so far behind hand in regard to time, as to render it expedient to date the number which should have been the November number — December.

I am rejoiced that you will attend to the matters I spoke of in my last.

Mr W. has increased my salary, since I wrote, 104$. for the present year — this is being liberal beyond my expectations. He is exceedingly kind in every respect.

You did not reply to my query touching the “new work.” But I do not mean to be inquisitive. [page 126:]

Most sincerely yours

Edgar A Poe

John P Kennedy Esqr

Richmond — Feb: 11. 1836.

In an article called “Autography” in the next Messenger, you will see that I have made a blunder in relation to your seal. I could decypher only the concluding portion of the motto on one of your letters — (le partout) — and taking the head for a Lion's head, imagined the words to be “il parle partout.” Your last letter convinces me of my error. I doubt however if it is a matter of much importance.

Note: Kennedy sought possession of a picture of his wife, her sister, and himself, painted by William James Hubard (1807-1862) and valued at $225 (see CL-118 and CL-135). Hubard had taken it to Richmond, promising to return it, but after four years had failed to keep his word. Ironically, Poe's presence in the effort to retrieve the picture eventually led to a serious error over a “primitive drawing” said to be of Poe from “life” and actually copied from a woodcut in Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of 1856. J. H. Whitty later used it as frontispiece for his edition of Poe's poems (1911), donated it to the Richmond Poe Museum, and persuaded TOM [Poems] to call it “fully authenticated” (1:570). The account is well handled by M. J. Deas, The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of EAP, with illustrations, pp. 114-117. At the time of the present letter, Poe had published twelve tales, ten of which belonged to the Tales of the Folio Club: “Metzengerstein,” “The Duc de L’Omelette,” “Lionizing,” “A Tale of Jerusalem,” “Loss of Breath,” “Bon-Bon,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “The Visionary,” “Morella,” “Hans Pfaall,” “King Pest,” and “Shadow” (for dates, see TOM [T&S] and Wyllie, Poe's Tales). Concerning the satire or burlesque in Poe's tales, see Wilson, “The Devil Was in It,” American Mercury. Kennedy's letter of February 9, 1836 (CL-118), to which Poe is replying, promised a visit to McCulloch about the disposition of a minor inheritance from the estate of William and Catherine Clemm. In CL-135, Kennedy stated that debts had completely drained the estate. Poe began his article on autographs in the February number of the SLM (2:205-212; reprinted in H [Works], 15:139-174, and TOM [T&S], 2:259-291). In the thirteenth entry he spoke of Kennedy's penmanship as “our beau ideal [sic for idéal],” and of the seal as “nearly square, with a lion's head in full alto relievo, surrounded by the motto ‘il parle par tout.’ ” In addition to Poe's misreading of the motto, the SLM [page 127:] prints “par tout” as two words, presumably a typographical error since he spells “partout” correctly in the present letter.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Peabody Institute Library.

Letter 58 — 1836, March 3 [CL-125] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John C. McCabe (Richmond, VA):

My Dear Sir,

A press of other engagements has prevented me, hitherto, from replying to your letter of the 24th ult: — but I have not the less borne it in mind.

I need not speak to you of the difficulties I have to encounter, daily, in selecting from the mass of M.SS. handed in for The Messenger. Personal applications, from personal friends, of course embarrass me greatly. It is, indeed, almost impossible to refuse an article offered in this manner without giving mortal offence to the friend who offers it. This offence, however, is most frequently taken by those who have the fewest pretensions to merit. In the present instance I feel perfectly sure that I shall neither wound your feelings, nor cause you to think less of me as an acquaintance, by returning your Poem — which I now enclose.

My reasons for declining it, relate as much to yourself, individually, as to the Magazine. I feel exceedingly desirous that you should be even more favorably known to the public than you are at present, and that this object should be accomplished thro’ the medium of the Messenger. I have frequently seen pieces from your pen which I would have been happy to insert — one long poem, especially, whose title I cannot call to mind — and some lines lately printed in the Baltimore Athenæum — that great bowl of Editorial skimmed milk and water. [page 2] I think you will agree with me that “The Consumptive Girl” is not, by any means, a fair specimen of your talents. Like all I have seen of your composition, it breathes the true spirit of poetic sentiment and feeling — it has fine and original images — and has all the proper [page 128:] materiel of the Muse. But it is deficient in the outward habilements. The versification, in especial, is not what you can make it. The lines in most instances, are rough, owing to your frequent choice of words abounding in consonants. Thus in the beginning.

“Oon burning spot blush’d on her smooth fair cheek”.

In some cases the verses are more seriously defective, and cannot be scanned — or even read. For example.

“To the heart — Hope's death, love's blight, faded joys”

And again —

“Long hair unbound fell o’er her swan-like neck wildly”

I know you will reply, and with some appearance of justice, that much worse verses have appeared, in the Messenger, since my Editorship, and are still appearing. But these are poems which have been long on hand, and to the publication of which Mr. W. had bound himself, by promises to their respective authors, before my time. Such difficulties shall not occur again.

Suppose you were to try a series of brief poems — say sonnets — one to appear regularly in each number of the Magazine. Embodying multum in parvo — laboured out with scrupulous care in their metre — and signed with your initials — they will not fail (if done as well as I know you can do them) to gain you a high and permanent reputation.

Your sincere well wisher

Edgar A Poe

John C. McCabe Esqr


March 3d 1836

Note: John Collins McCabe (1810-1875) was a Richmond minister and minor literary figure, contributing numerous poems to the SLM, beginning with the first number, August 1834. See Gordon, Memories and Memorials of William Gordon McCabe (1:22) for the statement that Poe and McCabe were close friends, although corroborating evidence seems [page 129:] lacking, aside from the present letter and a curt “Autography” item of December 1841 in Graham's (H [Works], 15:231). TOM [Poems, 1:182-183] notes that Poe inscribed the 1831 version of “Irene,” the early form of the 1841 poem “The Sleeper,” in McCabe's album of 1837. This MS volume carried McCabe's very flattering introductory note “To / Original Contributors only” (plus accolades to them); Poe's poem leads all the others. Poe's admiration for McCabe's poetic talent seems rather tepid, however; his recording him as no. 92 in Such Friends (p. 30) may reflect the approximate date of the “Chapter on Autography” article at the end of 1841. Mr. W. was, of course, Thomas W. White, owner of the SLM.

Poe uses “materiel,” italicized as French, but lacking the French acute accent; moreover, properly speaking, even in 1836, it was invariably used in English without an accent or italics for military equipment or machinery. Although Poe's word “habiliments” comes etymologically from French “habillement,” it is neither correct French to use a single “l” nor correct English to change the second “i” to an “e”. Poe has 13 instances of correct “habiliment(s)” in his tales, one of which is used ironically as an exemplar in the American Heritage Dictionary (1992). The quoted use of “Oon burning” is from the Scots, for “one burning.”

Source: color photograph of the original MS (2 pp.) in the University of Virginia Library, Clifton Waller Barrett Collection. It is written on blue paper. Poe is answering McCabe's letter of February 24, 1836 (CL-124).

Letter 59 — 1836, March 10 [CL-126] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Lucian Minor (Charlottesville, VA):

Richmond, Va. March 10. 1836.

Dr Sir,

At Mr White's request I reply to yours of the 6th. The Messenger shall be mailed regularly to the Rev. O. A. Stearnes [sic] as you desire, and attention shall be paid to the pencilling. Your N. E. Letters are forwarded herewith, with the exception of Letter 3 (to be found in No 5 of the Messenger — a number which cannot be procured).

Your Marshall article has been very well received in all directions. Grigesby [sic], of Norfolk, alone spoke ill of it and he speaks ill of [page 130:] every thing. His objections were to the passages touching John Randolph and Chapman Johnson. Professor Dew is now here, and thinks the whole article every thing it should be.

Liberian Literature has met a fate very similar. Lauded by all men of sense, it has excited animadversion from the Augusta Chronicle. The scoundrel says it is sheer abolitionism.

With high respect

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Note: For information on Lucian Minor, see LTR-51a. The Reverend Oliver A. Stearns (1807-1885) was a defender of anti-slavery policies, a prominent New England theologian, and a professor in the Harvard Divinity School (see the DAB, 17:546-547). This letter identifies Minor as author of “Letters from New England — No. 3, by a Virginian,” in the SLM, January 1835, 1:217-220. For the “Marshall article,” see the SLM, February 1836, 2:181-191, unsigned. Hugh Blair Grigsby (1806-1881) owned and edited the Norfolk American Beacon, 1834-1840 (see the DAB, 7:628; also Cappon, Virginia Newspapers, p. 134). Thomas R. Dew was president of William and Mary College, 1836-1845.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The postal cancellation is dated the same as the letter. Minor's name appears on the envelope, a separate leaf, but not in the letter itself. Further identification is made by reference to “Liberian Literature,” which was by Minor (see LTR-55; also the letter of T. W. White to Minor, November 9, 1835, in Jackson, Contributors and Contributions to the SLM, p. 14). Poe, acting as White's amanuensis, is answering Minor's letter to White, March 6, 1836.

Letter 60 — 1836, April 12 [CL-132] Poe (Richmond, VA) to William Poe (Augusta, Georgia):

Richmond, Va., April 12, 1836

My dear Sir, [page 131:]

A press of business has hitherto prevented my replying to your kind letter of the 29th March, enclosing $50 to Mrs. Clemm. Your prompt and generous assistance, so frequently manifested, is, I assure you, deeply felt and appreciated by myself as well as by her. I trust that she is now so circumstanced, or that she soon will be so, as to render it unnecessary to tax the kindness of yourself and brothers any further.

On the day before receiving your letter I wrote to Washington Poe, Macon, in reply to a favor of his offering his own assistance. He has become a subscriber to the Messenger.

I hope you have received our March number. That for April will follow, I hope, soon.

It is probable that at some future time I may avail myself of your friendly invitation to pay you a visit in Augusta. In the mean time, should business or inclination lead you, or any of our friends, to Virginia, it would afford me the greatest pleasure to show you every attention in my power.

With my best respects to Mrs. Poe and your brother, I remain, dear William,

Yours most sincerely, Edgar A. Poe.

Note: For information on William Poe, see the note to LTR-47. His gift probably resulted from a plea for financial aid by Poe, or possibly Mrs. Clemm. Poe is replying to William Poe's letter of March 29, 1836 (CL-130). For a similar letter from Poe to another cousin, see LTR-53. William's brother was Washington Poe, who also corresponded with Edgar (see LTR-98, CL-129, and CL-131).

Source: transcript of the original MS, in the Library of Virginia. The notarized transcript was made July 16, 1903 and authenticated by William T. Poe, grandson of William Poe. Below Poe's signature, the notarized copy includes the following note to William Poe from Mrs. Clemm: “Dear Cousin: — Edgar a few days since handed me a note for fifty dollars for which I learn I am indebted to your kindness — accept my sincere gratitude — will you have the goodness to present to your lady my respects, and believe me, yours sincerely, Maria Clemm.” [page 132:]

Letter 61 — 1836, April 12 [CL-133] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Lydia H. Sigourney (Hartford, CT):

Richmond. Va April 12th 1836.

Mrs L. H. Sigourney,


At the request of Mr T. W. White, I take the liberty of replying to your letter of the 6th ult.

I am vexed to hear that you have not received the Messenger regularly, and am confident that upon reception of the January number (now again forwarded to your address) you will be fully convinced that your friends, in their zeal for your literary reputation, have misconceived the spirit of the criticism to which you have alluded. To yourself, personally, we commit our review, with a perfect certainty of being understood. That we have evinced any “severity amounting to unkindness” is an accusation of which you will, I sincerely hope, unhesitatingly acquit us. We refer you, especially, to the concluding sentences of the critique.

Mr White desires me to express his regret at the mistake in relation to your package of books. He would have placed them immediately in the hands of some bookseller here, but was not sure that your views would be met in so doing. They are now properly disposed of.

You will, I hope, allow us still to send you the [page 2] Messenger. We are grieved, and mortified to hear that you cannot again contribute to its pages, but your objection in respect to receiving a copy without equivalent is untenable — any one of your pieces already published in our Journal being more than an equivalent to a subscription in perpetuo. This we say as publishers, without any intention to flatter, and having reference merely to the sum usually paid, to writers of far less reputation, for articles immeasurably inferior.

In respect to your question touching the Editor of the Messenger, I have to reply that, for the last six months, the Editorial duties have been undertaken by myself. Of course, therefore, I plead guilty to all [page 133:] the criticisms of the Journal during the period mentioned. In addition to what evidence of misconception on the part of your friends you will assuredly find in the January number, I have now only to say that sincere admiration of the book reviewed was the predominant feeling in my bosom while penning the review.

It would afford me the highest gratification should I find that you acquit me of this “foul charge”. I will look with great anxiety for your reply.

Very resply & truly

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Note: Mrs. Sigourney's Zinzendorff, and Other Poems (New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1836), along with collections of the works of two other female poets, was reviewed by Poe in the SLM, January 1836 (2:112-117; reprinted in H [Works], 8:122-142, and Writings, 5:83-88). For Poe's joining White and the SLM, see LTR-45 and notes, and the note to LTR-49.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The envelope, a separate leaf, is addressed to “Mrs. L. H. Sigourney / Hartford / Connect” and is postmarked Richmond, April 12. The envelope is endorsed, presumably by Mrs. Sigourney, “Edgar A. Poe. Richmond. April 12, 1836. / ansd April 25th”; but the original MS letter from Mrs. Sigourney in reply to Poe's, above, is clearly dated “April 23d” (CL-134). Poe is replying to a letter from Mrs. Sigourney to Thomas W. White, owner of the SLM.

Letter 62 — 1836, May 2 [CL-136] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Beverley Tucker (Williamsburg, VA):

Richmond May 2. 1836.

Dear Sir,

At Mr White's request I write to apologise for the omission of your verses “To a Coquette” in the present number of the Messenger. Upon [page 134:] making up the form containing them it was found impossible to get both the pieces in, and their connection one with the other rendered it desirable not to separate them — they were therefore left for the May number.

I must also myself beg your pardon for making a few immaterial alterations in your article on Slavery, with a view of so condensing it as to get it in the space remaining at the end of the number. One very excellent passage in relation to the experience of a sick bed has been, necessarily, omitted altogether.

It would give me great pleasure to hear your opinion of the February, and of the April number of the Messenger — I mean of the Editorial articles. It is needless for me to say that I value your good opinion, and wish to profit by your counsel.

Please present my best respects to Professor Dew.

With the highest esteem

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Will you ask Mr Saunders what has become of the article he promised us?

Note: Tucker's two poems, both entitled “To a Coquette,” omitted in the April number of the SLM, appeared in the May 1836 issue, though unsigned (SLM, 2:352). Tucker's article on slavery was an unsigned review of J. K. Paulding's Slavery in the United States (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836) and William Drayton's The South Vindicated From the Treason and Fanaticism of the Northern Abolitionists (Philadelphia: H. Manly, 1836). Each of these books attempts to justify slavery in the United States, as does the unsigned review. Unfortunately, Harrison's error of collecting this review as if by Poe (H [Works], 8:265-275) has been influential in numerous Poe commentaries. The result has been widespread misconceptions about Poe's racial attitudes, in spite of the corrected identification by Hull in 1941 and the present letter from an editor, seemingly blunt and evidentiary in explaining his need to alter a text about to be published. The major issues in this heated controversy are most ably analyzed and addressed by Whalen in Poe and [page 135:] the Masses, pp. 116-121. See also a more condensed survey of the “history” of the reception and denial of this attribution in Writings, 5:153-154, and J. V. Ridgely's fuller treatment of the issue in “The Authorship of the Paulding-Drayton Review,” PSA Newsletter, 20:1-3 and 6. A few scholars continue attempts to use the review as a reflection of Poe's own attitudes on slavery, but the case against such arguments seems clear. Thomas R. Dew and Robert Saunders were professors at William and Mary College, Williamsburg. Dew became president of the college in 1836. Both men were crucially involved in the public stance of the SLM's presentation of the widely debated issue of slavery. For the importance of Professor Dew and Mr. Saunders to Poe see Whalen, Poe and the Masses, pp. 115, 130-131, and 299, n. 55. It may be assumed that “Mrs. Nathaniel Beverly [sic] Tucker Jr.” is this prominent correspondent's wife, listed for his address in Such Friends as no. 146 (pp. 15 and 37, with a parenthetical “Jane Ellis” added).

Although the OED does not give “apologise” as an accepted alternate spelling of “apologize,” it does cite prominent examples of both in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In his letters, Poe uses it consistently in this form (see LTR-76, LTR-85, LTR-144, and LTR-163d). Although it is not officially sanctioned, it appears to have been a common spelling, and is therefore accepted as a variant.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of George P. Coleman, and now in the library of the College of William and Mary. No reply to the present letter is known.

Letter 63 — 1836, May 23 [CL-138] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Jared Sparks (Cambridge, MA):

Richmond May 23. 1836.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 17th is received, and I reply to it at the request of Mr White. Herewith a number of the Messenger is forwarded, containing the Letter of Celia Single.

The M.S.S. from which we publish are not in our immediate possession — but in that of Mr Wm Duane Jr of Philadelphia. He [page 136:] possesses a M.S. volume containing many originals of Franklin. I rather suppose that the articles you allude to (as being suspicious) in Mr Duane's edition, are genuine, and are a portion of the collection from which we are now publishing. I mean to say, of course, that this collection is in the hand-writing of Franklin. Mr D. transcribes the M.S. for our use.

I would be very glad if you could interest yourself in any manner for the success of our Magazine in Boston.

Very respy

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Jared Sparks Esqr

Cambridge. Mass.

Note: Jared Sparks (1789-1866) was Professor of History at Harvard (see “Autography,” in H [Works], 15:214). The satirical “Letter of Celia Single” appeared in the SLM for April 1836 (2:296), signed Celia Single, but possibly in jest; “MSS. of Benj. Franklin” with the introductory note: “never yet published” appeared in the same issue of the SLM (2:293-295). In W [1909] 2:365-368, and the 1948 and 1966 editions of The Letters, as well as elsewhere, the Duane mentioned by Poe has been consistently misidentified as William John Duane (1780-1865), who was Secretary of the Treasury from May to September 1833 under President Andrew Jackson (and noted in the DAB, 5:469). Poe's Duane, William Duane, Jr. (1808-1882), was actually the son of the man identified (see W. T. Bandy, “Poe, Duane and Duffee,” University of Mississippi Studies in English, ns 3:81-95). In Writings (5:151-152) is reprinted Poe's grateful account of having access to important material in Duane's Franklin manuscript-book, which furnished various items for the April-June 1836 issues of SLM, with footnotes probably by Poe. Also in Writings (5:204-205) are reproduced Franklin's nine lines of verse on women's beneficial role as teachers. Far different from the present letter in tone and tenor are Poe's later references and direct correspondence with Duane, concerning the borrowed SLM volume that Maria Clemm had furtively sold when told to return it (see LTR-184 and LTR-191).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in Harvard College Library. Poe is acting for White in replying to Sparks’ letter of May 17, 1836, which is unlocated. [page 137:]

Letter 64 — 1836, June 3 [CL-139] Poe (Richmond, VA) to James H. Causten (Washington, DC):

Richmond, Va June 3. 1836.

Dr Sir,

Understanding that you have been engaged, at different times, in the prosecution of private claims against the Government of the U.S. I have taken the liberty of addressing you on a subject of this nature.

I believe you were personally acquainted with some branches of my family in Baltimore. I am the son of David Poe Jr of that city. It appears to me (and to some others to whom I have mentioned the subject) that my aunt, Mrs Maria Clemm (who now resides with me in Richmond, I having married her daughter) has a claim against the U.S. to a large amount which might be carried to a successful issue if properly managed. I will state, as briefly as possible, the nature of the claim, of which I pretend to give merely an outline, not vouching for particular dates or amounts.

During the war of the Revolution, Mrs C's father, Gen: David Poe, was a quarter-master in what was then called the Maryland line. He, at various times, loaned money to the State of Maryland, and about seventeen years ago died, while engaged in making arrangements for the prosecution of his claim. His widow, Mrs Elizabeth Poe, applied to the State Government, which, finding itself too impoverished to think of paying the whole amount (then nearly $40,000) passed a bill, for the immediate time, granting Mrs Poe an annuity of $240 — thus tacitly acknowledging the validity of the vouchers adduced. Mrs Poe is now dead, and I am inclined to believe, from the successful prosecution of several claims of far less promise, but of a similar nature, that the whole claim might be substantiated before the General Government — which has provided for a liberal interpretation of all vouchers in such cases. Among these vouchers (now in proper form at Annapolis) are, I believe, letters from Washington, La Fayette, & many others speaking in high terms of the services and patriotism of Gen: Poe. I have never seen the bill granting the annuity to Mrs Poe, but it may possibly contain a proviso against any future claim. This however, [page 138:] would be of little moment, if the matter were properly brought before Congress.

My object in addressing you is to inquire if you would be willing to investigate and conduct this claim — leaving the terms for your own consideration. Mrs C. authorizes me to act for her in every respect. I would be glad to hear from you as soon as you can make it convenient.

Very respy

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

James H. Causten Esqr

Note: According to an Anderson Galleries catalog, January 4-5, 1934, offering the present letter as item 350, James H. Causten (1788-1874) was associated in Washington with Col. John T. Pickett and the French spoliation claims; the letter came up for sale from the Pickett family. David Poe, Sr. was appointed Assistant Deputy Quartermaster of the Continental Army in Baltimore, April 8, 1778, and on September 10, 1779, was listed as an agent to purchase for the Army. “General” Poe asked nothing for his services, but did request reimbursement from the Government for personal outlays of money totaling $40,000. He provided letters in his support from such luminaries as Washington and Lafayette, but these “were not held to be vouchers of technical formalities” — and he received nothing. When Lafayette visited the United States in 1824, he asked to see his old friend David Poe, but was told that he was dead. Mrs. Poe, however, was still alive and a meeting was quickly arranged. That she was elderly and living in poverty proved sufficiently embarrassing to the Maryland legislature that she was granted an annuity, upon which Maria Clemm and her family largely relied for income until Mrs. Poe's death in 1835. There is no evidence that Poe's letter to Causten had any success. Documents reproduced in Brannan, The Poe Family Line, show that the claim was still being pursued in April 1837, but was denied because Mrs. Poe “died before the passage of the Act” (pp. 28-32).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The address appears on the verso of the single leaf. On the MS appears the note: “Ans Dec 9 J H C,” indicating a reply from Causten (CL-166). [page 139:]

Letter 65 — 1836, June 7 [CL-143] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Robert M. Bird (Philadelphia, PA):

Richmond — Va June 7th 1836

Dr Sir,

I take the liberty of again addressing you, and of calling your attention to what was not precisely a promise on your part, but a kind of demi-promise made some months ago — in relation to an article for our “Southern Literary Messenger[.]” It would be, indeed, a matter of sincere congratulation with us, if, by any means within our power, we could so far interest you in our behalf as to obtain something from the author of “Calavar”. We have, just at this moment, a conspiracy on foot, and we would be most happy to engage you in our plans. We wish, if possible, to take the public opinion by storm, in a single number of the Messenger which shall contain a series of articles from all the first pens in the land. Can you not aid us — with a single page if no more? I will trust to the chivalric spirit of him who wrote the “Infidel” for a reply.

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Dr Robert M. Bird.

Note: Bird (CL-148) apparently answered Poe's request by sending a poem, “The Pine Wood,” published in the SLM, August 1836 (2:541). In the SLM for June 1835 (1:582-585) appears a review of Bird's novel The Infidel, or the Fall of Mexico (reprinted in H [Works], 8:32-37), commenting briefly also on Calavar. Poe's final comment in the present letter has suggested to some, including Harrison, that Poe was the author of this review, but for a correction of the attribution, see notes to LTR-51. The present letter is the first of several Poe wrote requesting contributions to the SLM (see LTR-66, LTR-67, LTR-67a, LTR-67b, and LTR-68).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The letter is addressed on the verso of the single leaf to “Dr Robert M. Bird / Philadelphia / Pa,” and is postmarked from Richmond, June 7. Bird's reply (CL-148) is unlocated. [page 140:]

Letter 66 — 1836, June 7 [CL-144] Poe (Richmond, VA) to James Fenimore Cooper (Cooperstown, NY):


June 7. 1836

Dr Sir

At the request of Mr T. W. White, I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting some little contribution to our “Southern Literary Messenger[.]” I am aware that you are continually pestered with such applications, and am ready to believe that I have very little <hope> >>chance<< of success in this attempt to engage you in our interest. Yet I owe it to the Magazine to make the effort.

One reason will, I think, have its influence with you. Our publication is the first literary attempt of Virginia, and has been for eighteen months forcing its way, unaided, and against a host of difficulties into the public attention. We wish, if possible to strike a bold stroke which may establish us on a securer footing than we now possess, and design to issue, as soon as possible, a number of the Journal consisting altogether of articles from distinguished Americans, whose names may give weight and character to the work. To aid us in this attempt would cost you no effort, as any spare scrap in your port-folio would answer our main purpose — and to us your aid would be invaluable.

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

James Fenimore Cooper Esqr

Note: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was one of America's most prolific and successful novelists. Much like his dealings with Washington Irving, Poe was willing, for the sake of professional opportunities, to sublimate his personal lack of esteem for the prominent and popular writer. Reviewing Cooper's History of the Navy, Poe revealed a distinctly unfavorable opinion of the author's fiction: “It cannot be denied that, for many years past, he has been rapidly sinking in the estimation of his countrymen, and indeed of all right minded persons” (Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, July 1839, 5:56). In spite of his personal [page 141:] reservations, however, Poe continued to think that Cooper's “aid would be invaluable,” and entered his name in Such Friends, as no. 240 (p. 22). In the first issue of the SLM (August 1834), a brief comment of encouragement from Cooper begins: “The south is full of talent, and the leisure of its gentlemen ought to bring it freely into action.” Apparently holding to this notion, Cooper did not comply with Poe's request.

Source: photograph of the original MS (1 p.) in the New York State Historical Association. At some point, the original MS was pasted on a folding screen along with several letters from other celebrities of the day. No address is visible. Poe's signature bears a slight paraph.

Letter 67 — 1836, June 7 [CL-146] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Fitz-Greene Halleck (New York, NY):

Richmond Va. June 7. 1836.

Dear Sir,

At the request of the Proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger” I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting some little contribution to our Journal. It is well known to us that you are continually pestered with similar applications; we are, therefore, ready to believe that we have little chance of success in this attempt to engage you in our interest — yet we owe it to the Magazine to make the effort.

One consideration, will, we think, have its influence with you. Our publication is the first successful literary attempt of Virginia, and has been now, for eighteen months, forcing its way unaided, and against a host of difficulties, into the public view and attention.

We wish to issue, if possible, a number of the Messenger consisting altogether of articles from our most distinguished literati, and to this end we have received aid from a variety of high sources. To omit your name in the plan we propose would be not only a negative sin on our part — but would be a positive injury to our cause. In this dilemma may we not trust to your good nature for assistance? Send us any little scrap in your port-folio — it will be sure to answer our purpose fully, if it have the name of Halleck affixed. [page 142:]

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Ed. S. L. M.

Fitz-Greene Halleck. Esqr

Note: Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1867) was a poet of the Knickerbocker Group. Poe wrote a mixed review of Halleck's Alnwick Castle for the SLM (April 1836, 2:326-336; Writings, 5:164-174), and a longer notice as part of the “Our Contributors” series for Graham's Magazine (September 1843, 23:160-163), essentially repeated in an installment of “The Literati of New York City” (Godey's, July 1846). The SLM had been “forcing its way” for more than “eighteen months.” White's first number appeared in August 1834, as a bi-weekly periodical broadly defined as “Devoted to Every Department of Literature and the Fine Arts,” but it was changed to a monthly with the November issue (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 20-21). Poe's reference here to “literati” is interesting in light of his controversial series on “The Literati of New York City” a decade later. Poe's present letter is one of several seeking contributions to the SLM (see LTR-65, LTR-66, LTR-67a, LTR-67b, and LTR-68). There is no evidence that Halleck complied with Poe's request, although a two-sentence fragment printed in the SLM for June 1836 (2:517) suggests a flattering reply (CL-148b).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of William H. Koester, and now in the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The address leaf is lost.

Letter 67a — 1836, June 7 [CL-146a] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Washington Irving (Newburg, NY):


June 7. 1836

Dr. Sir,

At the request of Mr T. W. White, I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting, in the name and for the sake of Virginian Literature, some little contribution to our “Southern Literary Messenger”. I am aware that you are continually pestered with such [page 143:] applications, and am willing to believe that I have very little <hope> chance of success in this attempt to engage you in our interest. Yet it is right that the effort should be made.

One argument, or rather one reason, will, I think, have its influence with you. Our publication is the first literary attempt of Virginia, and has been, for eighteen months, forcing its way, unaided, and against a host of difficulties, into the public attention. We wish, if possible, to strike a bold stroke which may establish us on a securer footing than we now hold. We design to issue, as soon as possible, a number of the Journal consisting altogether of articles from distinguished Americans, whose names will give weight and character to our work. To aid us in this attempt would cost you hardly an effort, as any spare scrap in your port-folio would answer our main purpose — and to us your aid would be invaluable.

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Washington Irving Esqr

Note: This is another of several very similar letters Poe wrote to prospective contributors to the SLM on the same date (see LTR-65, LTR-66, LTR-67, LTR-67b, and LTR-68). The celebrated name of Washington Irving on the contributors’ page would have been of great value to the SLM, but Irving failed to contribute. Hope that he might be relied upon for support could have been inferred from page one of the first issue of the magazine (August 1834), where Irving, along with other well-wishers, had said: “Your new literary enterprise has my highest approbation and warmest good wishes. Strongly disposed as I always have been in favor of ‘the south,’... I cannot but feel interested in the success of a work which is calculated to concentrate the talent and illustrate the high and generous character which pervade that part of the Union.” Unfortunately, good wishes were apparently all Poe and the publisher, T. W. White, could expect. For writers who actually sent contributions to the special August 1836 number, see LTR-69c and notes.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Annmary Brown Memorial, Brown University. A notation on the verso of the MS reads: “Edw. a Poe [sic] / June 7. 1836 / Behalf of Southe[rn] / Messenger.” Below this notation in a larger hand is “1836.” [page 144:]

Letter 67b — 1836, June 7 [CL-146b] Poe (Richmond, VA) to — ? (— ?):


June 7. 1836.

Dr Sir,

At the request of Mr T. W. White, Proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger” I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting some little contribution to our Journal. I am aware that your time is occupied with more serious matters, and that you are frequently pestered with similar applications. I am, therefore, ready to believe that I have very little chance of success in this attempt — to engage you in our interest. Yet I owe it to the Magazine to make the effort.

One consideration will, I think, have its influence with you. Our publication is the first successful literary attempt of Virginia, and has now been, for eighteen months, forcing its way, unaided, and against a host of difficulties, into the public view and attention.

We wish to strike, if possible, a bold stroke — to issue, as soon as may be, a number of the Journal consisting altogether of articles from distinguished Americans whose names may give weight and character to the work. To aid us in this attempt would cost you no effort, as any spare scrap in your port-folio would answer our main purpose. To us such aid would be invaluable.

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Note: As in LTR-65, LTR-66, LTR-67, LTR-67a, and LTR-68, Poe's letters to prospective contributors to the SLM all repeat similar phrases. In these other letters, the name of the person addressed usually appears at the bottom of the page, but not on this MS. Since we do not know the names of all the authors Poe wrote to at this time, or even how many there were, his correspondent here cannot be easily assigned. A possible candidate is James Kirke Paulding, to whom Poe certainly wrote [page 145:] (CL-147a). Excerpts from Paulding's apparent reply (CL-148a) were printed in the supplement to the SLM, July 1836. Paulding also sent one poem and two prose contributions, which would seem to be in fulfillment of Poe's request: “The Old Man's Carousel” (SLM, August 1836, 2:538), “Example and Precept” (SLM, July 1836, 2:464-465), and “Judgement of Rhadamanthus” (SLM, August 1836, 2:539-540). These are the first items by Paulding written for the SLM, and the only ones for 1836, all three carrying Paulding's name.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.). The photocopy was among the papers at TOM [Iowa], but without identification for a source or correspondent.

Letter 68 — 1836, June 7 [CL-147] Poe (Richmond, VA) to John P. Kennedy (Baltimore, MD):

Richmond. Va. June 7. 1836.

Dear Sir,

Having got into a little temporary difficulty I venture to ask you, once more, for aid, rather than apply to any of my new friends in Richmond.

Mr White, having purchased a new house, at $10.000, made propositions to my aunt to rent it to her, and to board himself and family with her. This plan was highly advantageous to us, and, having accepted it, all arrangements were made, and I obtained credit for some furniture &c to the amount of $200, above what little money I had. But upon examination of the premises purchased, it appears that the house will barely be large enough for one family, and the scheme is laid aside — leaving me now in debt (, to a small amount,) without the means of discharging it upon which I had depended.

In this dilemma I would be greatly indebted to you for the loan of $100 for 6 months. This will enable me to meet a note for $100 due in 3 months — and allow me 3 months to return your money. I shall have no difficulty in doing this, as, beyond this 100 $, I owe nothing, and I am now receiving 15 $ per week, and am to receive $20 after [page 146:] November. All Mr White's disposable money has [page 2] been required to make his first payment.

Have you heard any thing farther in relation to Mrs Clemm's estate?

Our Messenger is thriving beyond all expectation, and I myself have every prospect of success.

It is our design to issue, as soon as possible, a number of the Magazine consisting entirely of articles from our most distinguished literati. To this end we have received, and have been promised, a variety of aid from the highest sources — Mrs Sigourney, Miss Sedgwick, Paulding, Flint, Halleck, Cooper, Judge Hopkinson, Dew, Governor Cass — J. Q. Adams, and many others. Could you not do me so great a favor as to send a scrap, however small[,] from your portfolio? Your name is of the greatest influence in that region where we direct our greatest efforts — in the South. Any little reminiscence, tale, jeu-d’esprit[,] historical anecdote — any thing, in short, with your name, will answer all our purposes.

I presume you have heard of my marriage.

With sincere respect and esteem

Yours truly

Edgar A Poe

J. P. Kennedy.

Note: Concerning Mrs. Catherine Clemm's estate, see LTR-54. With one exception, full letters in reply from the authors cited in the present letter are unlocated, although R. M. Bird and others sent contributions (see notes to LTR-65 and LTR-67b). Mrs. Sigourney's letter to Poe, June 11, 1836 (CL-150), promises a contribution and mentions a letter from Poe, June 4, 1836 (CL-141). Poe and Virginia were married in Richmond, Monday, May 16, 1836 (see Quinn, p. 252). Quinn (p. 255) cites Susan Archer Weiss, Home Life of Poe ( p. 85), for their then living “in a cheap tenement on Seventh Street,” with a reservation about “any statement which that lady made at second hand.” Although Poe specifically states that Lewis Cass has promised a contribution, LTR-69c establishes that he had not yet even written to the former governor until nearly a month later.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.), formerly in the collection of H. Bradley Martin, now unlocated. No reply from Kennedy is known. [page 147:]

Letter 68a — 1836, June 7 [CL-147b] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Edward Everett (Boston, MA):


June 7. 1836.

Dr Sir,

At the request of Mr T. W. White, proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger” I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting some little contribution for our Journal. I am aware that your time is occupied with more serious matters, and that you are frequently pestered with similar applications. I am, therefore, ready to believe that I have very little chance of success in this attempt to engage you in our interest. Yet I owe it to the Magazine to make the effort.

One consideration will, I think, have its influence with you. Our <first> publication is the first successful literary attempt of Virginia, and has now been, for eighteen months, forcing its way, unaided, and against a host of difficulties, into the public view and attention.

We wish to strike, if possible, a bold stroke — to issue, as soon as may be, a number of the Journal consisting altogether of articles from distinguished Americans whose names may give weight and character to the work. To aid us in this attempt would cost you no effort, as any spare scrap in your portfolio would answer our main purpose. To us such aid would be invaluable.

With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Note: The present letter, another of the series written to prospective contributors for the SLM, is virtually identical to LTR-67a, differing only in some slight phrasing, such as “contribution for our Journal” rather than “contribution to our Journal.” This is the only known correspondence between Poe and Edward Everett (1794-1865), the famous 19th century orator. Poe's early impression of Everett appears to have been a highly favorable one. In the brief “Eulogies on Marshall,” Poe writes: “But [page 148:] except Everett among the living, and Wirt and Ames among the departed of our countrymen, we doubt if any American, with the effusions of whose mind we are familiar, could have more closely rivalled by language the character and the actions attempted to be portrayed” (SLM, December 1835; see Writings, 5:72). Everett is more directly featured as the author of letter X in “Autography,” with Poe's comment: “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 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.” (SLM, Feb. 1836, 2:209). Poe essentially repeats this entry in the “Chapter on Autography” of 1841, modifying the last sentence slightly: “The letters before us have a seal of red wax, with an oval device bearing the initials E. E. and surrounded with a scroll, inscribed with some Latin words which are illegible.” (Graham's, November 1841, 19:233). In the same article, however, Poe indirectly asserts a more negative opinion in the entry on Robert Walsh: “Mr. Walsh cannot be denied talent; but his reputation, which has been bolstered into being by a clique, is not a thing to live. A blustering self-conceit betrays itself in his chirography, which upon the whole, is not very dissimilar to that of Mr. E. Everett, of whom we shall speak hereafter.” Eveleth appears to have sent no contribution.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Edward Everett Papers. To avoid tearing the page by pulling the paper at the seal, the letter was opened by cutting a neat V, leaving the wax intact. The letter is addressed to “Hon. Edward Everett / Boston / Mass.” and carries a postmark of “RICHMD / VA / JUN 7.” A notation below the address, presumably by Everett, states: “7 June 1836. E. A. Poe / 23 —.” The number 23 may indicate the date of a reply from Everett, a possibility that is further suggested by Poe's April 28, 1846 letter to E. A. Duyckinck, in which Poe lists Everett's name among those “distinguished Amer. statesmen” for whom he has an autograph in the form of “well-preserved letters” (see LTR-229). One can only wonder if these letters include those Poe describes in his “Autography” series. [page 149:]

Letter 69 — 1836, June 8 [CL-149] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Stephen G. Bulfinch (Augusta, GA):


June 8. 1836

My dear Sir,

Your kind letter of the 3d. ult: is received, and I beg you to accept my thanks for your beautiful translation, and equally beautiful original lines. It would, indeed, be a source of congratulation with me if, by any means within my power, I could secure your occasional aid in the way of contributions. I look, with much interest, for your promised Notice of Mr Perdicaris’ Lectures. You will send it on, I hope, as soon as possible. The 20 copies shall be attended to. Your verses are already in the printer's hands, and shall appear, certainly, in the next number of the Messenger — of which a copy shall be also forwarded to M. Perdicaris.

Do you not think that, through your intercession, Perdicaris himself might be induced to send us something for our Journal. I am well aware of his abilities, and especially of his critical acquaintance with the classical Greek. A Romaic song, in the original, by P. with a translation by yourself, would be an invaluable gem. We would be glad, indeed, to publish any thing either from him or from yourself.

Please give my best respects to my cousins, Robert F. Poe, and William, and believe me, dear Sir, that I fully reciprocate the many kind expressions of your letter.

With the highest respect

Yr. Mo. Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Rev. S. G. Bulfinch

Note: For information on S. G. Bulfinch, see the notes to LTR-56. Robert and William Poe lived in Augusta, GA. Bulfinch's letter of “the 3d. ult” would undoubtedly be that of May 3, 1836 (CL-137), since Poe usually used “ult.” to refer to the month just past (see LTR-103, LTR-125, LTR-133, LTR-146, and LTR-253) and “inst.” to refer to the current [page 150:] month (see LTR-102 and LTR-145); furthermore, Bulfinch's contribution is “in the printer's hand” by June 8 and did appear in the “next” or June issue (SLM 2:410-411). Addressed to the editor, the contribution was headed “Perdicaris.” The article consisted of two columns, two-thirds of the first one made up of a biographical comment on Perdicaris; the rest of the article being a twenty-eight line translation “From the Romaic of Christopoulos,” in which Bulfinch acknowledges assistance by Perdicaris, and a fifty-five line original poem by Bulfinch, entitled, “To G. A. Perdicaris.” Gregory Anthony Perdicaris was a native Macedonian who, after he came to the United States, taught Greek in schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and became the U.S. Consul to Greece in 1836. His book on The Greece of the Greeks was published in 1845 (New York: Paine & Burgess, 2 vols.). The notice of Perdicaris’ Lectures did not appear in the Messenger while Poe was editor, though one was printed in the February number (SLM, 3:159).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles. The envelope is addressed: “To. / Rev. S. G. Bulfinch / Augusta / Georgia.” It is postmarked: “Richmond / Va / Jun 9.” Two almost similar notations appear on the envelope: “Edgar A. Poe. / Richmond, / June 8. 1836”; and “Edgar A. Poe Esq. June 8th, / 1836.” No further correspondence between Poe and Bulfinch is known, although Bulfinch is no. 117 in the list of Such Friends (p. 21), presumably many years later (CL-844).

Letter 69a — 1836, June 18 [CL-150a] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Peter S. Du Ponceau (Philadelphia, PA):

Richmond — Va

June 18, 1836

Dear Sir,

At the request of Mr Thomas W. White, Proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger” I take the liberty of addressing you, with a view of requesting some little contribution to our Magazine.

It is our design to issue, as soon as possible, a number of the Messenger consisting altogether of contributions from our most distinguished literati, and we would consider it as the highest honor if [page 151:] you would allow us to publish upon this occasion, some little scrap from your pen. Any brief thesis — philological essay — historical reminiscence — scientific treatise — criticism — any thing, in short, with your name would sufficiently answer our purpose. By obliging us in this matter you would, at the same time, be rendering a service to the cause of Southern Literature.

With the highest respect

Yr Mo. Ob. St.

Edgar A Poe

Peter S. Duponceau.

Note: Peter Stephen Du Ponceau (1760-1844), the American name of Pierre Étienne Du Ponceau, was a Frenchman who came to America and served in the Continental Army, later settling in Philadelphia and becoming a citizen of Pennsylvania. He achieved the status of a prominent lawyer, linguist, and literary figure with significant writings on philology and history (see the DAB, 5:525-526). There is no evidence that Du Ponceau answered Poe's letter or ever sent any contribution to the SLM. For similar solicitations, see LTR-65, etc.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Letter 69b — 1836, June 18 [CL-151] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Francis Lieber (Columbia, SC):

Richmond June 18. 1836

Dear Sir,

At the request of Mr Thomas W. White Proprietor of the “Southern Literary Messenger” I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting some little contribution for our Magazine.

It is our design to issue, as soon as may be, a number of the Messenger consisting altogether of articles from our most distinguished literati, and to this end have been promised, and have received aid from a variety of high sources — among others from Judge Hopkinson, from Paulding, from Mrs Sigourney &c &c. We are [page 152:] exceedingly anxious to include your name among the rest. Could you not send us some little spare scrap in your port-folio? — some historical anecdote — personal reminiscence — philological essay — in short any thing, with your name. We would be highly gratified if you could assist us in this matter.

With the highest respect

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

Ed. S. L. M.

Dr. Francis Lieber.

Note: Dr. Francis Lieber (1800-1872) was born in Germany, served in the Prussian army at Waterloo, and settled in Boston in 1827. He became professor of history and political economy at the University of South Carolina in 1835, and in 1856 assumed a similar chair at Columbia University. He was a voluminous writer and held many government offices. Poe reviewed one of his books as “Reminiscences of Niebuhr,” supplying also an account of Lieber's life, in the SLM, January 1836 (reprinted in H [Works], 8:162-168 and Writings, 5:95-98); he also included him in “A Chapter on Autography,” in Graham's (November 1841, 19:232). Under the date of June 28, 1836, Lieber sent an article entitled “A Reminiscence” to Poe as editor of the SLM, which Poe published in the August 1836 number (SLM, 2:535-538).

Source: facsimile of the original MS (1 p.) as printed in the Emerson Society Quarterly, no. 51 (II Quarter, 1968), pt. II, p. 51. There is no address or cover. This is Poe's only known letter to Lieber.

Letter 69c — 1836, July 4 [CL-153a] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Lewis Cass (Washington, DC):


July 4. 1836

Dr. Sir,

With this letter, a bound volume of the “Southern Literary Messenger” (Vol I) is forwarded to your address, at the request of Mr [page 153:] T. W. White, the Proprietor, who begs you will accept it — learning that your own first volume is deficient in some numbers.

It is our design to issue on the 1rst August a number of the “Messenger” consisting altogether of articles from our most distinguished literati, and to this end we have received many excellent papers — from Judge Hopkinson — Prof. Alexander of Princeton — Paulding — Dr. Bird — Mrs Sigourney — Lieut Slidell, Prof. Anthon &c — . Mr White has informed me that you had, in part, made him a promise of a contribution, and I have ventured, accordingly, to mention our design in relation to the August number, in hope that you would be able to send us something in season. If you could possibly do so, it would greatly advance the interests of our Journal — especially in the South — and this must be my apology for troubling you upon this point.

Mr. White desires his best respects. With the highest respect

Yr. Ob. St.

Edgar A. Poe

Gov: Lewis Cass.

Address care of T. W. White.

Note: Lewis Cass (1782-1866) had been governor of the Territory of Michigan from 1813 to 1831 before becoming Secretary of War under President Jackson. He resigned his cabinet post in 1836 because of illness, but in October he was appointed Minister to France (see DAB, 3:562-563). The present letter is yet another of numerous similar requests at this time (see LTR-65, etc.). In extant examples, names of prospective contributors are given only in Poe's letters to J. P. Kennedy and to Governor Cass; in his letters to more prominent writers (like Irving, Cooper, Bird, and Halleck) he omitted them. The fact that some letters to named contributors are extant suggests that Poe wrote letters to all (see Check List for individual items). Poe tells Kennedy (see LTR-68) that Cass has contributed, or promised to contribute, an article, even though Poe had not yet made the request. Cass did not send a contribution to the August, 1836, number of the SLM, but those named in the letters to Kennedy and Cass who did comply were Mrs. Sigourney, Bird, Hopkinson, Paulding, and Slidell. One new name is that of James Waddell Alexander (1804-1859), Professor of Rhetoric at Princeton [page 154:] Theological Seminary (1833-1844), who contributed three items to the SLM in 1836, two signed “Borealis.”

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.) in the Clements Library, University of Michigan. The cover is addressed: “To / Govr. Lewis Cass. / Washington. / D. C.” It is postmarked: “Richmond, Va., Jul 4.” The letter carries the following endorsement: “Edgar A Poe / July 4 1836.” The present letter has been renumbered from LTR-69b to LTR-69c to allow for the insertion of Poe to Francis Lieber.

Letter 70 — 1836, July 16 [CL-154] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Littleton W. Tazewell (Richmond, VA):

Richmond. July 16, 1836.

Dr Sir,

At the request of Mr T. W. White, I take the liberty of soliciting, for publication in the Messenger, your Reasons for declining to transmit the instructions of the State Legislature to Mess. Tyler & Leigh.

If, as I imagine, these reasons enter into the Constitutional question itself, it would afford us the greatest pleasure to give them publicity, and we should take it as an especial favor if you could let us have them for this purpose.

Mr. White desires his best respects. With the highest respect

Very respy

Yr ob St

Edgar A. Poe

Littleton W. Tazewell Esqr

Note: Littleton Waller Tazewell (1774-1860), of Norfolk, succeeded John Marshall in Congress in 1800, was United States Senator from Virginia in 1824, and Governor of Virginia, 1834-1836 (see The South in the Building of the Nation, 12:445-446). John Tyler, later President of the United States, and Benjamin W. Leigh were United States Senators from Virginia at the time of the present letter (see The South in the Building of the Nation, 12:487 and 12:89-90). Tazewell did not contribute the article to the SLM as Poe requested. See Quinn (p. 42) for a short note from Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, to Tazewell's wife, Anne Nivision Tazewell (1785-1858). [page 155:]

Source: original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of J. K. Lilly, Jr., and now in the Lilly Library, Indiana University. The letter carries no postmark but is addressed to “Littleton W. Tazewell Esqr / Norfolk / Va.” It is also endorsed in an unknown hand: “Edgar A Poe / July 16, 1836.” No reply from Tazewell is known.

Letter 71 — 1836, July 30 [CL-156] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Mathew Carey (Philadelphia, PA):

Richmond July 30. 1836

Dr Sir,

Your article on the “study of the learned languages” was duly received, and is already “set up”. I am much in hope that it will please the public generally as much as it has done myself. My object in writing you at present is to beg that you will allow us to alter the heading which you have affixed to it, from the words “A Looker on in Venice, No 2”, to the words “On the study of the Learned Languages” or some similar caption. I have many reasons for requesting this favor. First — it would accord with the character of all the other captions made use of in our Magazine — Secondly it would prevent the necessity of making any explanation in regard to the heading of your last article, and explanations are always inconvenient — Thirdly, your article would then stand by itself unconnected with any thing going before, or to come — Fourthly it would prevent our having a series of continued articles which you must know by experience are often the cause of some trouble — and Fifthly the “Looker on in Venice” is a caption which has been very frequently been made use of before by [page 2] Essayists. I submit all, however, to your better judgment, merely saying that Mr White would take it as a personal favor if you would allow us to make the alteration proposed.

I am extremely sorry that the error should have occurred in relation to your Anthologia and The Science of Life. We did not, however, suppose it necessary to put the Anthologia as a selection — supposing the word Anthologia itself sufficiently significant, [page 156:]

With high respect

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

I perceive that your article “National Ingratitude” has attracted great attention, and approbation. The Charlottesville Jeffersonian among other papers pays it a merited compliment.

Note: Carey's article appeared as “The Learned Languages” in the SLM, August 1836 (2:557-561). His “last article” refers to “National Ingratitude” in the SLM, July 1836 (2:486-488), and not to the very brief “The Science of Life” (SLM, July 1836, 2:503) or the poem “Anthologia” (SLM, July 1836, 2:503).

Source: photocopy of the original MS (2 pp.) in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Poe's apology implies a letter from Carey (CL-155), probably dated in latter half of July. No reply from Carey is known, although one is highly likely (CL-156a) since the change was made.

Letter 72 — 1836, August 19 [CL-158] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Hiram Haines (Petersburg, VA):

Richmond — Va.

Dr Sir,

Herewith I send you the August number of the “Messenger” — the best number, by far, yet issued. Can you oblige me so far as to look it over and give your unbiassed opinion of its merits and demerits in the “Constellation”? We need the assistance of all our friends and count upon yourself among the foremost.

The contributions have, in most cases, the names of the authors prefixed. All after the word Editorial is my own.

If you copy any thing please take my Review of Willis’ ”Inklings of Adventure” — or some other Review.

With sincere respect

Yr ob. St

Edgar A. Poe

H. Haines Esqr [page 157:]

Note: Hiram H. Haines (1802-1841) was a minor literary figure and publisher living in Petersburg, VA. He wrote Mountain Buds and Blossoms, a volume of poetry, in 1825; established the democratic tri-weekly American Constellation in 1834; edited Th’ Time o’ Day, devoted to news and literature, in 1839; and published the Virginia Star (a weekly, then a semi-weekly) from March 4, 1840 until his death (for a fuller account, see Ostrom, “Two Unpublished Poe Letters,” Americana, 36:67-71). For elaboration of “the best number, by far, yet issued,” see LTR-73. “All after the word Editorial,” for the August 1836 issue of the SLM, includes two editorials and thirteen reviews. Haines praised Poe's reviews as early as January 1836, and subsequently complimented him upon certain reviews and criticisms, reprinting portions of Poe's work (see SLM, January 1836, 2:140; SLM, February 1836, 2:205-212; SLM, April 1836, 2:347; SLM, July 1836, 2:522).

Source: original MS (1 p.) in the Poe Foundation. The letter is undated, but postal cancellation shows “Aug. 19”; the year is established as 1836 by Poe's review of Willis’ Inklings of Adventure in the SLM, August 1836 (2:597-600). The envelope is addressed to “H. Haines Esqr / ‘Constellation’ / Petersburg.”

Letter 73 — 1836, before September 2 [CL-159] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Editor of the Richmond Courier and Daily Complier (Richmond, VA):

To the Editor of the Compiler:

Dear Sir:

In a late paragraph respecting the “Southern Literary Messenger,” you did injustice to that Magazine — and perhaps your words, if unanswered, may even do it an injury. As any such wrong is far from your thoughts, you will of course, allow the Editor of the Messenger the privilege of reply. The reputation of a young Journal, occupying a conspicuous post in the eye of the public, should be watched, by those who preside over its interests, with a jealous attention, and those interests defended when necessary and when possible. But it is not often possible. Custom debars a Magazine from answering in its own pages (except in rare cases,) contemporary misrepresentations and [page 158:] attacks. Against these it has seldom, therefore, any means of defence — the best of reasons why it should avail itself of the few which, through courtesy, may fall to its lot. I mean this as an apology for troubling you to-day.

Your notice of the Messenger would generally be regarded as complimentary — especially so to myself. I would, however, prefer justice to a compliment, and the good name of the Magazine to any personal consideration. The concluding sentence of your paragraph runs thus: “The criticisms are pithy, and often highly judicious, but the editors must remember that it is almost as injurious to obtain a character for regular cutting and slashing, as for indiscriminate laudation.” The italics are my own. I had supposed you aware of the fact that the Messenger has but one editor — it is not right that others should be saddled with demerits belonging only to myself. But this is not the point to which I especially object. You assume that the Messenger has obtained a character for regular “cutting and slashing;” or if you do not mean to assume this, every one will suppose that you do — which, in effect, is the same. Were the assumption just, I would be silent, and set immediately about amending my editorial course. You are not sufficiently decided, I think, in saying that a career of “regular cutting and slashing is almost as bad as one of indiscriminate laudation.” It is infinitely worse — it is horrible. The laudation may proceed from — philanthropy, if you please; but the “indiscriminate cutting and slashing” only from the vilest passions of our nature. But I wish briefly to examine two points — first, is the charge of indiscriminate “cutting and slashing” just, granting it adduced against the Messenger? — and, second, is such charge adduced at all? Since the commencement of my editorship in December last, 94 books have been reviewed. In 79 of these cases, the commendation has so largely predominated over the few sentences of censure, that every reader would pronounce the notices highly laudatory. In 7 instances, viz: in those of The Hawks of Hawk Hollow, The Old World and the New, Spain Revisited, the Poems of Mrs. Sigourney, of Miss Gould, of Mrs. Ellett, and of Halleck, praise slightly prevails. In 5, viz: in those of Clinton Bradshaw, The Partisan, Elkswatawa, Lafitte, and the Poems of Drake, censure is greatly predominant; while the only reviews [page 159:] decidedly and harshly condemnatory are those of Norman Leslie, Paul Ulric, and the Ups and Downs. — The “Ups and Downs” alone is unexceptionably condemned. Of these facts you may satisfy yourself at any moment by reference. In such case the difficulty you will find, in classing these notices, as I have here done, according to the predominance of censure or commendation, will afford you sufficient evidence that they cannot justly be called “indiscriminate.”

But this charge of indiscriminate “cutting and slashing” has never been adduced — except in 4 instances, while the rigid justice and impartiality of our journal has been lauded even ad nauseam in more than four times four hundred. You should not therefore have assumed that the Messenger had obtained a reputation for this “cutting and slashing” — for the asserting a thing to be famous, is a well known method of rendering it so. The 4 instances to which I allude, are the Newbern Spectator, to which thing I replied in July — the Commercial Advertiser of Colonel Stone, whose Ups and Downs I had occasion (pardon me) to “use up” — the N. Y. Mirror, whose Editor's Norman Leslie did not please me — and the Philadelphia Gazette, which, being conducted by one of the sub-editors of the Knickerbocker, thinks it its duty to abuse all rival Magazines.

I have only to add that the inaccuracy of your expression in the words — “The August No. of the Southern Literary Messenger has been well received by most of the Editorial corps who have noticed it,” is of a mischievous tendency in regard to the Messenger. You have seen, I presume, no notices which have not been seen by myself — and you must be aware that there is not one, so far, which has not spoken, in the highest terms, of the August number. I cannot, however, bring myself to doubt that your remarks, upon the whole, were meant to do the Messenger a service, and that you regard it with the most friendly feelings in the world.


The Editor of the Messenger.

Note: The Courier paragraph to which Poe alludes follows: “The August No. of the Southern Literary Messenger has been well received by most [page 160:] of the editorial corps who have noticed it. These commendations may be valued, because they emanate from sources beyond the influence of private friendship; and therefore it is, that suggestions of improvement should be, and we have no doubt will be, duly regarded by the editor and publisher. No periodical in the country has been so successful in obtaining the aid of able and distinguished writers; and the quantity of matter is much greater than need be. We entirely agree with the editor of one of the prints, who thinks a choice tale in each number would add to its attraction; as something is due to the tastes of those who have neither time nor relish for the higher grades of literature. Specimens of the writing we refer to, have often been given in the Messenger, but the supply may not be as abundant as needful. The hint, we are sure, is enough to prompt the effort to obtain regular contributions of this sort. [new paragraph] The criticisms are pithy and often highly judicious, but the editors must remember that it is almost as injurious to obtain a character for regular cutting and slashing as for indiscriminate laudation.”

The editor's remarks, appended to Poe's letter, claim innocence of any attempt to injure the reputation of the SLM; point out that “editors” was a typographical error, and that the paper did not imply that the editor of the Messenger was already guilty of cutting and slashing, but merely warned him against such a possibility; and, further, that Poe in his letter chose “to transpose our words, and use the word ‘indiscriminate’ instead of ‘regular,’ which makes us say what we did not say.” The editor of the paper cites, “if we remember right,” the Baltimore Chronicle as one paper that did not praise unreservedly the August number of the Messenger. The Newbern Spectator (NC) article (reprinted in the SLM for July 1836) said the SLM was pretentious and that many of its articles were worthy only of an ephemeral sheet, and was answered by Poe (SLM, 2:517-518). Colonel Stone's Ups and Downs was severely handled in the SLM (June 1836, 2:455-457). Theodore S. Fay's Norman Leslie was reviewed in the SLM (December 1835, 2:54-57). For Poe's statement that he is the only editor of the SLM, see the note to LTR-49. Sidney Moss, Poe's Literary Battles (pp. 54-62) reprints some of the Courier material and appraises Poe's harsh criticism and its hostile response in the Southern and New York press. See also the unfolding “warfare,” which finally resulted in Poe's dismissal in January, via the successive monthly headnotes of the SLM volume of Writings, 5:45-46, 247, 273-277, 291-292, 315, and 323-326; also, Pollin, “Poe's ‘Mystification’: Its Source in Fay's Norman Leslie,” MissQ, 11:111-130. [page 161:]

Source: text of the letter as printed in the Richmond Courier and Daily Compiler, p. 2, cols. 4-5, September 2, 1836. The original MS was probably discarded after being set in type for the Compiler. Poe was replying to a paragraph in the Courier of August 31, 1836, p. 2, col. 4; thus the letter is reasonably dated August 31 or September 1. Though the letter is signed only as “Editor of the Messenger,” Poe certainly wrote it, as evinced by the reference to “the commencement of my editorship in December last,” and the listing of reviews known to have been written by Poe.

Letter 73a — 1836, early September [CL-159b] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Nourse, Semple and Thompson, Jr. (Franklin Literary Society, Jefferson College, Canonsburg, PA):

Most respy


Your Obt. St.

Edgar A. Poe.

Note: This fragment is all that was preserved when Dr. Maurice E. Wilson, as a 14 year old student, came across Poe's letter while clearing out files of papers for the Franklin Literary Society in 1869, when Jefferson College merged with Washington College. Unfortunately, he cut out Poe's signature and discarded the rest of the letter, the contents of which he recalled only as “thanking the Franklin Literary Society of Jefferson College for having elected him an honorary member.” (Dr. Wilson's comments are recorded in the article noted as the source for this letter.) Although Dr. Wilson felt that the letter “must have been written between 1846 and 1849,” the surviving minutes of the Franklin Literary Society record a September 9, 1836 entry stating: “A. E. Poe [sic] Honorary member Nourse, Semple & Thompson Jr. com. — .” Poe's address list contains an entry for “Franklin Lit. Soc. Jefferson Col. Canonsburg, Pa. / see let” (Such Friends, p. 14). Since no item on Poe's list can be surely dated prior to 1841, this letter may be later than the 1836 date assigned by Ostrom. Although Poe had been editing the SLM for several months by September of 1836, and as such may have earned some attention from a literary society as far away as Philadelphia, it is [page 162:] also possible that “A. E. Poe” is not Edgar but some other Poe. Lending support to the idea that “A. E. Poe” should be “E. A. Poe” is the fact that an entry in the minutes, just a few lines above this one, states that an honorary membership has been awarded to “the Milford Bard,” the name used by John Lofland, who knew Poe in Baltimore in the early 1830s. It is also possible that Poe was made an honorary member on some other, and later, occasion.

Source: fragment of text as printed by Ross Wells, “Franklin Society of Jefferson Made Him Honorary Member,” Richmond Times Dispatch, p. 3. All of the information concerning the letter was related to the reporter, through Dr. Celestin P. Cambiaire, by Dr. Maurice E. Wilson, 80 years old and Chaplain of Washington and Jefferson College in 1935. The MS of this signature has not been located, and the rest of the letter, regrettably, must be considered lost. Dr. Cambiaire himself searched unsuccessfully for a record of an honorary membership associated with Poe. The minutes are still kept in the archives of the college.

Letter 74 — 1836, September 2 [CL-160] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Harrison Hall (Philadelphia, PA):

Richmond Sep: 2. 1836.

Dr Sir,

Mr White duly received your letter of the 12th August, and I take the liberty of replying for him. The Latin Grammar and Mr Hall's Sketches have come to hand. The latter I have perused, some time ago, with great interest — I have also read the objectionable article in the N. A. Review, and agree with you that some personal pique is at the bottom of it. I cannot republish the reply in the Am. D. Advertiser, but, with your leave, I will make it the basis of another notice for the Sep: Messenger. It is against our rules to republish any thing — otherwise the reply is so good it would save me the trouble of saying more.

Will you now permit me to trouble you with a little business of my own? At different times there has appeared in the Messenger a series [page 163:] of Tales, by myself — in all seventeen. They are of a bizarre and generally whimsical character, and were originally written to illustrate a large work “On the Imaginative Faculties.” I have prepared them for republication, in book form, in the [page 2] following manner. I imagine a company of 17 persons who call themselves the Folio Club. They meet once a month at the house of one of the members, and, at a late dinner, each member reads aloud a short prose tale of his own composition. The votes are taken in regard to the merits of each tale. The author of the worst tale, for the month, forfeits the dinner & wine at the next meeting. The author of the best, is President at the next meeting. The seventeen tales which appeared in the Messr are supposed to be narrated by the seventeen members at one of these monthly meetings. As soon as <one> each tale is read — the other 16 members criticise it in turn — and these criticisms are intended as a burlesque upon criticism generally. The author of the tale adjudged to be the worst demurs from the general judgment, seizes the seventeen M.SS. upon the table, and, rushing from the house, determines to appeal, by printing the whole, from the decision of the Club, to that of the public. The critical remarks, which have never been published, will make about 1/4 of the whole — the whole will form a volume of about 300 close pages. oct.

I refer you for the reputation of these tales to the covers of the 1rst & 2d vols. Lit. Messr — A mass of eulogy, in the way of extracts from papers, might be appended if necessary, such as have never appeared to any volume in the country. I mention this merely as a matter of business.

My object in stating the nature of these tales &c is to ascertain if you, or any bookseller of your acquaintance, would feel willing to undertake [page 3] the publication. I make you the first offer. In regard to remuneration, as 3/4 of the book will have been published before, I shall expect none beyond a few copies of the work. My interest with the press throughout the U.S. is perhaps as extensive as that of any man in the country, and would aid the sale, no doubt. Please write me, as soon as possible, on this head. I shall be happy to review, fully, any books you may be pleased to forward. [page 164:]

Very respy,

Yr Ob. St

Edgar A Poe

Herewith I forward the published Nos of Vol 2 of the Mess.

Note: Harrison Hall was a Philadelphia printer and had published the Port Folio, 1816-1827 (American Magazines, 1:223). For Poe's review of the Latin Grammar, written by Baynard R. Hall and published by Harrison Hall, see H [Works], 9:166-167 and Writings, 5:310. The “Sketches” may have been Skimmings, or a Winter at Schloss Hainfeld in Lower Styria, by Captain Basil Hall, reviewed by Poe in the SLM, October 1836 under the heading “Schloss Hainfeld” (see H [Works], 9:170-174 and Writings, 5:304-306). Contrary to Poe's statement, the SLM did republish material, including several of Poe's own tales and poems. The chief interest in the present letter lies in Poe's discussion of the Folio Club. His original plan for the fictitious Club was to have a membership “limited to eleven” (see H [Works], 2:xxxvii and TOM [T&S], 2:200-207); the present letter shows its expansion to seventeen. By September of 1836, Poe had printed in the SLM a total of fourteen tales, all of which found republication in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque of 1840. Of these tales, Quinn (pp. 745-746) accepts all, with the possible exception of “Hans Phaall,” as tales of the Club; J. S. Wilson accepts only twelve, excepting “Hans Phaall” and “Morella.” To make up the total of seventeen, Quinn adds to the above fourteen the following, published later: “Mystification,” “Siope,” and “A Descent into the Maelström”; Wilson excludes “A Descent into the Maelström,” accepts “Mystification,” and “Siope” and adds “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” and “Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling,” making a total of sixteen. (In this connection, see Wilson, “The Devil Was In It,” American Mercury, 24:214-220.) For the most comprehensive study, see Hammond, “Tales of The Folio Club,” pp. 13-43. The “critical remarks,” mentioned by Poe, are lost. As in the present instance, Poe answered numerous letters for T. W. White during his editorship of the SLM.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (3 pp.) in the Haverford College Library. The text appears on pages 1-3 of a folded leaf. The envelope, the verso of the second leaf, shows “To / Harrison Hall Esqr / Philadelphia / Pa”; and was postmarked Richmond, September 2. No reply from Harrison Hall is known. [page 165:]

Letter 75 — 1836, October 20 [CL-164] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Mrs. Sarah J. Hale (Boston, MA):

Richmond Oct: 20. 1837. [1836]

Dear Madam,

I was somewhat astonished to day at receiving a letter addressed to “W. G. Simms Esqr, Editor of the S. L. Messenger”, and hesitated about my right to open it, until I reflected that, in forwarding it to Mr S., I should place him in a similar dilemma. I therefore broke the seal — but the address, even within, was “W. G. Simms.” I could arrive, therefore, at no other conclusion than that, by some missapprehension, you have imagined Mr S. to be actually Editor of the Messenger, altho’ I wrote you, but lately, in that capacity myself.

Of course, under the circumstances, it is difficult to reply to one portion of your letter — that touching the prose article desired. If however, it was your wish that I should furnish it, I am grieved to say that it will be impossible for me to make a definite promise just now, as I am unfortunately overwhelmed with business, having been sadly thrown back by late illness. I regret this the more sincerely as I would be proud to find my name in any publication you edit, and as you have been so kind as to aid the Messenger so effectually in a similar manner yourself. To send you a crude or hastily written article would be injurious to me, and an insult to yourself — and I fear that I could, at present, do little more.

As Editor of the Messenger I can however say that it will afford me sincere pleasure to do you any service in my power. I shall look anxiously for the “Ladies’ Wreath.”

I am surprised and grieved to learn that your son (with whom I had a slight acquaintance at W. Point) should have been vexed about the autographs. So mere nonsense it was hardly worth while to find fault with. Most assuredly as regards yourself, Madam, I had no intention of giving offence — in respect to the “Mirror” I am somewhat less scrupulous. [page 166:]

With the highest regard

I am Yr Ob St

Edgar A Poe

Mrs Sarah J. Hale

Note: Mrs. Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788-1879) contributed “A Profession for Ladies” to the SLM (August 1836, 2:571-572). Mrs. Hale, then editor of the Ladies’ Magazine, (not the Ladies’ Wreath), became an editor of Godey's Lady's Book when the two magazines were merged in 1837 (Quinn, p. 269). Mott (American Magazines, 1:348) describes the Ladies’ Magazine as suffused with sentimentality, but also surprisingly progressive, emphasizing education for women. He further notes that it was “the first women's magazine to reach an age of more than five years.” Though the above letter is the first extant one between Poe and Mrs. Hale, there may have been at least two earlier ones: (1) a note to her (CL-51a) as editor of the Ladies’ Magazine, similar to that sent to Neal, accompanying “Heaven” (see note to LTR-21), and to Willis, who reviewed “Heaven” in the American Monthly Magazine (November 1829) 1:587 (see Quinn, pp. 154-156); (2) an unpublished scratch note (CL-53a), which contains, besides other items, almost a full copy of a review of “Al Aaraaf” in the Ladies’ Magazine (January 1830, 3:47; see Quinn, p. 165), but also has at the head of the scratch notes “Dr Madam.” Existence of the full letter, if written, is unknown. Mrs. Hale's son, David E. Hale, had known Poe at West Point, to whom, on one occasion, he had conveyed some message from his mother (see letter of David Hale to Mrs. Hale, February 10, 1831, in Quinn, p. 171). David Hale's concern about the autograph was due to Poe's use of Mrs. Hale's signature in “Autography” in the SLM (February and August 1836). Though Poe is not answering a letter addressed to him, he cites a recent letter to Mrs. Hale: probable date ca. June 7 (CL-145), since he wrote to Bird (LTR-65), Cooper (LTR-66), Halleck (LTR-67), Irving (LTR-67a), Mrs. Sigourney, and, as he tells Kennedy on June 7, 1836 (LTR-68), “many others,” soliciting contributions for the SLM. The “Mirror” was the New-York Mirror, which Poe had harshly criticized in December 1835 for regularly puffing Norman Leslie, a novel written by Theodore S. Fay, one of the editors of that prominent magazine.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.), formerly in the collection of H. Bradley Martin, but currently unlocated. Poe's year date is incorrect; it should be 1836. After January 1837, he was no longer the “Editor of the Messenger.” [page 167:]

Letter 75a — 1836, November 12 [CL-165a] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Edgar S. Van Winkle (New York, NY):

Richmond Va

Nov. 12. 1836

Dear Sir,

At the suggestion of your brother, the Editor of the Natchez Courier, I take the liberty of addressing you, and of soliciting a contribution for the “Southern Literary Messenger” published in this city by Mr T. W. White. It would afford me the greatest pleasure if you could aid us in this way. Mr Peter G. Van Winkle of Parkersburg, Va has written for our Magazine, and your brother in Natchez promises his aid. He informs us that you have by you (most probably) a M. S. on the “Study of the Law in the U. S,” — which it would give us pleasure to insert in the Messenger, if you have devoted it to no better purpose.

With high Respect


Edgar A. Poe

Edgar S Van Winkle Esqr

Note: Edgar Simeon Van Winkle (1810-1882) was an attorney-at-law, 66 Cedar Street, New York City. The present letter and LTR-75b, Poe's only two known letters to Van Winkle, solicit a contribution to the SLM, which Poe was soon to leave. Van Winkle sent the contribution, as requested (see LTR-75b and notes). Poe, not unexpectedly, recorded this attorney in Such Friends, as no. 127, p. 37 for future contributions to his Stylus. Peter Godwin Van Winkle (1808-1872) was a lawyer in Parkersburg, WV. After 1851, he became president of a railroad company, and later a US Senator. Jackson lists no items by any of the Van Winkles (see Jackson, Contributors and Contributions to the SLM), but Peter G. Van Winkle's two contributions can be identified. In the SLM, January 1837 appears “Our Portion” (3:17-18), a poem by “Nikor,” noted as a lawyer of Parkersburg by T. W. White in a January 24, 1837 letter to B. Tucker (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 113). The same letter also attributes to him “A Birthday Tribute” in the June 1836 issue (2:434-435). The other brother was Henry Edwin Van Winkle (born 1806), who moved [page 168:] to Natchez, MS in 1835. During 1836, along with Samuel H. B. Black, he was co-editor of the Natchez Courier and Journal, but by 1837, only Black's name is listed on the masthead. Henry E. Van Winkle was also the author of two books: Rombert: a Tale of Carolina (New York: Charles S. Frailey; Boston: Munroe & Frances, 1835) and Nine Years of Democratic Rule in Mississippi; Being Notes Upon the Political History of the State From the Beginning of the Year 1838 to the Present Time (Jackson: 1847).

Source: facsimile of the original MS (1 p.) in the Charles Hamilton Gallery catalog (No. 51), August 5, 1971, item 282. The catalog describes the letter thus: “... 2/3 page 4to. with integral address-leaf penned by Poe, bearing circular red-ink ‘Richmond, Va.’ strike, stamped ‘Paid,’ and manuscript marking; docketed by Van Winkle ... On the lower quarter of Poe's A.L.S. appears a holograph signed postscript by publisher White ... Seal tear on address-leaf.” White's postscript reads: “Mr Van Winkle will please accept of the issued Nos. of my 2d Volume — which he can obtain by applying to Charles King, Esq. editor of the American. Respectfully, T. W. White.” Below this postscript and to the left appears: “Address T. W. White.”

Letter 75b — 1836, November 26 [CL-165c] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Edgar S. Van Winkle (New York, NY):

Richmond Va

Nov 26. 1836.

Dr Sir

Your favor of the 23d, with the paper on “The Study of the Law”, has been duly received. I have read the Essay with much interest, and shall be proud to have it in the “Messenger”. I would dislike however, to mar its effect by publishing it piece-meal, and would be much obliged for the continuation you speak of. The length of a paper such as this will be rather a recommendation than otherwise.

Very truly


Edgar A Poe

Edgar S. Van Winkle Esqr [page 169:]

Note: To Poe's request for a contribution to the SLM (see LTR-75a), Van Winkle submitted “Study of the Law” and the “continuation” requested by both Poe and White. The full article appeared in the SLM for January 1837 (3:25-31). Poe quit his editorship of the Messenger on January 3 (see the note to LTR-76), and White published the article unsigned in the January 1837 number, which was late (see SLM, 3:25-31). White wrote Beverley Tucker, January 24, 1837: “Study of the Law, is by a respectable member of the New York Bar. — I think it is good” (see Jackson, Poe and the SLM, p. 113).

Source: facsimile of the original MS (1 p.) in the Charles Hamilton Gallery catalog (No. 51), August 5, 1971, item 283. The catalog describes it thus: “... about 2/3 page 4to ... with integral address-leaf, penned by Poe, bearing circular red-ink ‘Richmond Va.’ strike, stamped ‘Paid’ and manuscript marking; docketed by Van Winkle ... On the bottom quarter of Poe's A.L.S. appears a holograph signed postscript by publisher T. W. White, dated Nov. 28, 1836: ‘Please transmit the balance to my address so soon as you have the M. S. ready. — Send it, or any thing else, from your pen by mail, — and let me know whether my Oct. No. has reached you... ’ Seal tear on address-leaf, and with one tiny marginal tear.... ” Van Winkle's only known letter to Poe (CL-165b) is unlocated.

Letter 76 — 1837, January 9 [CL-168] Poe (Richmond, VA) to Allan B. Magruder (Charlottesville, VA):


Jan 9. 1837.

My Dear Sir,

Your kind letter of Christmas Eve was duly received — with the Essay. I have read it with great pleasure and, I confess, some degree of surprise — never having suspected you of any literary designs. It shall certainly appear, entire, in the February number of the Messenger. Any supervision on my part, I perceive, would be altogether superfluous.

I must apologise for not having made you a reply before. Ill health, and a weight of various and harassing business, will prove, I trust, a sufficient excuse. [page 170:]

With sincere friendship and esteem

I am

Yours &c

Edgar A Poe

Allan B. Magruder Esqr

Note: Allan B. Magruder became a lawyer and writer, and lived for a number of years in Charlottesville, VA. His daughter Julia became a writer of some prominence. (Woodberry, W [1909, 1:70], seems to have confused General John B. Magruder with the present correspondent.) T. W. White, publisher of the SLM, refused to print the essay, though Poe seems to have had it set in type (see White to Poe, January 17, 1837, CL-170). According to White in a letter to William Scott, January 23, 1837, “Mr. Poe retired from the editorship of my work on the 3d inst. I am once more at the head of affairs” (MS in Middlebury College Library); but Poe seems to have been in Richmond as late as January 19 (see White to Beverley Tucker, of that date, in Jackson, Poe and the SLM, pp. 111-112), perhaps later. White strongly contradicted Poe's judgment in his letter to him of January 17, 1837, which dismissed it as “bombast” not worth “putting ... in type.” The Poe Log (p. 239) also cites Magruder's interesting memories of Poe as a Cadet at West Point and the disappointment of his fellows upon receiving the “poor-looking” poems by Poe, for which they had garnished their pay (pp. 107 and 117). See also Russell, “EAP: The Army Years” (USMA Library Bulletin, 10:45), where Magruder's name is reproduced as part of the full list of 135 cadets who subscribed to Poe's 1831 Poems.

Source: photocopy of the original MS (1 p.). The MS is unlocated, but the photocopy is in the collection of the Emerson Society, Hartford, CT. The letter is addressed to: “Allan B. Magruder Esqr / Buchanan / Botetourt Co / Va:” It is cancelled: “Richmond, Va, Jan. 9.” The photocopy shows the MS letter and cover in a very bad state of deterioration. Poe is replying to Magruder's letter of December 24, 1836 (CL-167).




One page is accounted for in the pagination but not included in the text above because it is a blank back page. This is page 76.


[S:0 - CLT08, 2008] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (Ostrom, Pollin and Savoye) (Chapter 02)