Text: George W. Eveleth to Edgar Allan Poe — March 9, 1848


I am just off the bed from a Typhoid fever. I have had quite a long severe run of it. I was attacked very soon after my last to you. My life was despaired of by many of my friends — but I hoped all the time myself that I should live, and in those hopes of life was often the thought of you and your enterprise. My nerves are yet unsteady, and my intellect is not over and above clear. This is my first effort with the pen. You will probably find my characters a little scratchy withal, and will no doubt discover somewhat of the non blended with the sense of my letter.

Your last, I notice by the date, was written on Tuesday, the day, I believe, on which you have written each, of all your letters to me. It should have reached me by Saturday-night’s mail, as usual, but didn’t until Tuesday-night’s — therefore I couldn’t reply till now, Thursday; for the mail to-morrow morning — so if you wait for my answer you will hardly start for the West — South rather — on the 10th. — Your letter — I supposed, by not seeing any notice in, the papers of your prospectus of the Stylus, that you had not issued it to the public, I and should not therefore have acted in regard to the circulation of it if I had been in a condition to act. The time has not yet come for me to do any thing I understand? I expect it will be hard work to get the Stylus taken in our state. We are like our brothers, the Frogpondians, as you style the Bostonians, in many of our tastes for reading, only more so — we value nothing that we cannot discover through our bodily senses — all is nothingness, like your globe of globes, unless we can feel its attraction and repulsion.

I promised that in my next I would give my plan of the best course for the circulation of the Stylus among us — but I don’t know, — I am fatigued somewhat already, and I suppose it is not particularly necessary as yet — guess I won’t.

I think Colton liked you, as a writer and as a friend. I have stopped taking “Graham” — about when will the “Rationale of Verse” probably appear? — I must have the number containing it at all events.

I am certainly glad to hear of the abstemiousness of your private life heretofore, and that you now have done drinking forever — I put full confidence in your word upon it.

The “Weekly Universe” professes to be now in its third year. It was originally published under the title of the “Weekly Dispatch,” but changed a few months ago to its present one. It is a large paper, as large as most of the two dollar papers, and the price but one dollar — pretty good paper, I think — There is yet something connected with it which I don’t exactly understand — I have noticed that articles which were published in it as original were copied into other papers, and credited to the Sunday Dispatch, a paper which I have never seen. I[[t]] professes to be published by Williamson & Burns. They, Williamson &: Burns, tell me the names of their editors and contributors, then say “All this is communicated in the strictest confidence.” So I considered that they wished it kept secret — at least, I have kept it secret thus far; but I will impart it to you — you will of course not have occasion to tell it to anyone — The editors are William Burns, Thos. L. Nichols, James E. Legare, and Chas. P. Stenman, and its regularly engaged contributors are Chas.” W. Webber, B. B. Constable, Edward Magone, and — A. Bangs — the first initial I could n’t make out — besides foreign correspondents?

I guessed “the most distinguished of American scholars” was Anthon after I asked you who it was.

Of course I could not see many “newspaper reports of your lecture” being sick. I saw only one, in the Boston Journal taken in the family with which I am boarding, a paper which, I notice, often takes occasion to sneer at you. After quoting from the Courier & Inquirer it says — “Mr. Poe is already a great man. If he establishes this theory to the satisfaction of learned and philosophical astronomers, his greatness will be greater than ever.” — Praises you but don’t intend it for praise.

Am pleased to see by the slips that the New York papers appreciate your effort as they do — the slips I will return, in my next — I would like to have them awhile longer — suppose you don’t want them to carry to the South with you.

I think I get a correct idea of the point of your lecture from the summary you have furnished me. I like the way the matter is disposed of. To be sure, there is a chance for opposers of the theory to say that the starting point, the foundation, is but an offspring of the imagination after all — it is, and can be t1one other if it is in the right place — therefore the offspring that can be supported to full maturity, can be carried through all the winding ways, and over all obstacles without once falling a-oneside, is the one which should be taken. Let the objectors try your theory, and find if they can pick it to pieces, admitting that the starting point may be correct — let them storm your superstructure at the same time they do their own, and see which will fall the first — I defy them to start a brace or a pin of yours — I say I like disposal of the “Universe” and shall offer nothing further in its praise at present.

Concerning the letter found by the Transcendentalists floating in a bottle on the waters of the Mare tenebrarum of course the writer of it, and the lecturer don’t live more than a million miles apart, else the postage upon it would be too much to pay.

I suppose the object of it was to hint that a century hence the world’s philosophy would be greatly changed from the present, and from all the past philosophies — “What I have propounded, will (in good time) revolutionize the world of Physical and Metaphysical Science.” Well, I have thought much upon these things myself. I have considered for some time past that there would be, that there must be, erelong a spring started somewhere that should lead to the overturn of our present unsettled, misshapen system, especially of Metaphysics — and if there is a change in Metaphysical, there must be one also in physical, science; for the One governs, makes the other. I should be proud if you did indeed prove to be the starter of this spring — But won’t your quietness about your lecture serve rather to work against than in favor of this event? — Dame Public, you know needs to have her pantalettes tickled often, in order that she may be made to think and work. The steady dropping of the water, which you occasionally speak of, is necessary to make an impression. Wouldn’t you do well to give your lecture in other places, and to publish it one of these months? I should really like to see it.

In the prospectus accompanying your last letter there is nothing said about publishing in “The Stylus” your “Literary America.” — Have you abandoned the plan? Also noth[[ing]] said about engravings. Not long since in looking over a file of old newspapers at a neighbors, I fell upon a number of the Boston Notion of Apl. 29, 1843, containing a memoir of yourself (who wrote it?) abridged from the Phila. Saturday Museum.

I obtained the paper, and, though worn and torn, it is stored away as one of my “Household Gods.” In the prospectus spoken of in the memoir, you promise to give portraits with the “Critical and Biographical Sketches of American Writers.” I presume it is not your intention now, as you say nothing of it in your prospectus, to commence them with the commencement of the Stylus? Nevertheless, I hope to see them at some future time — I desire very much to have a full series of accurate likenesses of our American authors. I would like still more to have them accompany true criticisms of their writings such as I know you can give if any living critic can. O dear! didn’t expect to scribble so much. If you can find time to write while on your Southern tour, do to let me know what success you meet with.

Heaven speed your expedition!

Yours faithfully, G. W. Eveleth    





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - G. W. Eveleth to Poe (RCL702)