Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Allan — December 15, 1831 (LTR-034)


Balt. Dec. 15th, 1831.

Dear Pa,

I am sure you could not refuse to assist me if you were well aware of the distress I am in. How often have you relieved the distresses of a perfect stranger in circumstances less urgent than mine. and yet when I beg and intreat you in the name of God to send me succour you will still refuse to aid me. I know that I have offended you past all forgiveness, and I know that I have no longer any hopes of being again received into your favour, but, for the sake of Christ, do not let me perish for a sum of money which you would never miss, and which would relieve me from the greatest earthly misery — especially as I promise by all that is sacred that I will never under any circumstances apply to you again. Oh! if you knew at this moment how wretched I am you would never forgive yourself for having refused me. You are enjoying yourself in all the blessings that wealth & happiness can bestow, and I am suffering every extremity of want and misery without even a chance of escape, or a friend to whom I can look up to for assistance.

Think for one moment, and if your nature and former heart are not altogether changed you [page 2:] will no longer refuse me your assistance if not for my sake for the sake of humanity.

I know you have never turned a beggar from your door, and I apply to you in that light, I beg you for a little aid, and for the sake of all that was formerly dear to you I trust that you will relieve me.

If you wish me to humble myself before you I am humble — Sickness and misfortune have left me not a shadow of pride. I own that I am miserable and unworthy of your notice, but do not leave me to perish without leaving me still one resource. I feel at the very bottom of my heart that if you were in my situation and you in mine, how differently I would act.

Yours affecty



This letter is printed here with permission from the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. A photographic facsimile of this letter was published in Mary Newton Stanard, Edgar Allan Poe Letters Till Now Unpublished in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1925.


[S:0 - MS, 1831] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. Allan (LTR034/RCL069)