Text: William M. Griswold, “[Section 06],” Passages from the Correspondence and Other Papers of Rufus W. Griswold, Cambridge, MA: W. M. Griswold, 1898, pp. 256-308


[page 256:]

The letters from Poe and his wife referred to below have not been found; they were probably among those destroyed (as he tells us in his Memoirs) by Mr. C. G. Leland, in 1853.

[Mrs. Osgood to Griswold, 1850] . . .

I trust you will write that life of Poe. I will do as you wished: — I will write, as far as is proper, in a letter to you, my reminiscences of that year, and try to make it interesting and dignified, and you in introducing it by one single sentence can put down at once my envious calumniators. You have the proof in Mrs. Poe’s letter to me, and in his to Mrs. Ellet, either of which would fully establish my innocence in a court of justice — certainly hers would. Neither of them, as you know, were persons likely to take much trouble to prove a woman’s innocence, and it was only because she felt that I had been cruelly and shamefully wronged by her mother and Mrs. E[llet], that she impulsively rendered me that justice. She, Mrs. Poe, felt grieved that she herself had drawn me into the snare by imploring me to be kind to Edgar, — to grant him my society and to write to him, because, she said, I was the only woman he knew who influenced him for his good, or, indeed, who had any lasting influence over him. I wish the simple truth to be known, — that he sought me, not I him. It is too cruel that I, the only one of those literary women who did not seek his acquaintance, — for Mrs. Ellet asked an introduction to him and followed him everywhere. Miss Lynch begged me to bring him there and called upon him at his lodgings, Mrs. Whitman besieged him with valentines and letters long before he wrote or took any notice of her, and all the others wrote poetry and letters to him, — it is too cruel that I should be singled out after his death as the only victim to suffer from the slanders of his mother. I never thought of him till he sent me his Raven and asked Willis to introduce him to me, and immediately after I went to Albany, and afterwards to Boston and Providence to avoid him, and he followed me to each of those places and wrote to me, imploring me to love him, many a letter which I did not reply to until his wife added her entreaties to his and said that I might save him from infamy, and her from death, by showing an affectionate interest in him.”

When Mrs. Osgood went to Albany it was to visit her sister, the wife of the Rev. Henry F. Harrington, a gentleman who had begun life as a magazine writer, and who ended it, in 1887, as the highly respected superintendent-of-schools in New Bedford. In 1885 Mr. Harrington published his recollections of [page 257:] these events: “It might have been about a year afterward,” he says, “when, returning to my home in Albany, after an absence in the city of New York, Mrs. Osgood, who was then on a visit to my family, related that while I had been gone Poe had sought an interview with her alone in my parlor, and in passionate terms had besought her to elope with him. She described his attitudes as well as reported his words — how he went down on his knee and clasped his hands, and pleaded for her consent; how she met him with mingled ridicule and reproof, appealing to his better nature, and striving to stimulate a resolution to abandon his vicious courses; and how finally he took his leave, baffled and humiliated, if not ashamed. Not long after, when again in New York City, I sought the home of a family of which I had repeatedly been a guest. It consisted of a husband and his beautiful wife, who loved each other with confiding affection; and their home was bright with the sunshine of innocence and peace. I learned from mutual friends that it was now no more. It had been ruthlessly destroyed. Poe had marked the poor unsuspecting woman for his victim, and wound his insidious snares about her, weaned her affections from her husband, and accomplished her ruin.”


Custom House, Jan. 4, 1850.

My dear friend:

“It is very easy for sugar to be sweet,” says Emerson, and that it the reason why you were so sweet upon me in the Home Journal. It was kindly and handsomely done, and I am grateful for it. I only regret that I do not deserve it.

I intended some time since to ask the privilege of writing you up in Holden’s Magazine, but a multiplicity of engagements prevented. If you will lend me a Daguerreotype I will have a good wood portrait cut, and write myself a sketch to accompany it. . . . Very truly,

Chas. F. Briggs.


Philad’a, 24th January, [1850].

Dear James [Fields]: . . .

Can you possibly get Daguerreotype of Hawthorne to be engraved for the “International”? I want to do Hawthorne (who is, as I have [page 258:] printed it a dozen times, decidedly the greatest living literary man in this country, greatest, in romance, now writing the English language). I want to do Hawthorne’s life for the occasion of a reviewal of the “Seven Gables” . . .

R. W. G.


Gentlemen [Stringer & Townsend, Publishers]:

I have long had a great wish to visit your country; first because I consider it a great one, rapidly rising into the Mistress of the World, and as Such, think that the promising youth — of what will eventually be so glorious a maturity, — deserves better of its collateral relatives — the Elder Nations, — than to have, from time to time, its “Domestic Manners” caricatured because they may differ from our own, — or its kind letters of introduction converted into base coin “for general circulation.” Nor could I afford to do so on my own account. I could gladly go to the United States, for the sake of writing an impartial — (unprejudicial is the fitter word). Statistical, work upon America, in short, a sort of Rise — and Progress — of this great people: — as free from Hogarth and Punch, — as Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall” is from Pasquale or Juvenal.

But I have been so involved in legal expenses — by a series of Marital conspiracies in which my little Reptile of a Brother in law, — Sir Henry Bulwer — whom they have now sent you out to Washington: (though Australia would have been a more fitting destination for him) took an active part that rendered him more infamous, than famous: — but with the details of which I am not of course going to bore you, but merely to ask if you would be willing to guarantee me Eighteen Hundred pounds for such a work as the one I have mentioned? — paying 800 of the sum previous to my leaving England? I should think by subscription, even very small subscriptions, such a sum would easily be realized; and I confess it would afford me sincere gratification to owe my liberation from my unmerited and overwhelming difficulties to your really free, and Onerous, and consequently not merely nominally Moral country, for our soi-disant Moral (?) and very Pharisaical England — has, God bless it, reached such a pitch of sordid corruption and venal slavery — as must (without some great and vital change) soon cause it to totter to its fall. Trusting to your courtesy for a speedy reply,

I have the Honor to be, gentlemen, Your Obedient Servant,

Rosina Bulwer Lytton.

5 A Sloane St., Hyde Park comer, London, February 6th, 1850. [page 259:]


Philadelphia, Jan. 31, 1850.

Dear Sir —

. . . Mrs. Osgood’s Poems has not sold as yet as well as Mrs. Sigourney. Of the latter 200 were sold in Boston the first month, whereas out of 200 sent to Phillips & Sampson they write us they wish to return 100. . . Mr. Putnam had sold but 11 copies. . . Yours etc.,

A. S. Hart.


Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland, Feb. 14, 1850. To the Editor of the Tribune. . .

A few days ago a friend sent me a number of your paper which contained some remarks on the character of Mr. Jefferson. I thank you for your boldness in telling some plain, and to some of our modem Democrats, startling truths. All that you say, with the exception of the closing scene of Lear’s life, was known to me before. But I rejoice to find that other people know these things and are not afraid to speak of . . . the character of a man who, for selfishness, duplicity and insincerity, stands without an equal In the age in which he lived.

You are willing, you say, to give Mr. Jefferson all credit for his great political forecast and an ardent patriotism. In this you are more liberal than I. . . Tell us more about his secret connection with the private, and of course confidential Secretary of Gen. Washington, Tobias Lear; with . . . I. T. Gallender — and his encouragement of the Pennsylvania Whiskey Insurgents. Trace him in all his windings and doublings from the Retreat to Carter’s Mountain to the 4th July 1826, when he killed himself by taking Laudanum, that he might end his career on the anniversary of the most memorable act of his life. — I must tell you my authority for this fact which I have never seen in print. — A friend of mine, the late Henry Page of Cambridge, Md., told me that, while on a Your to the Medicinal Springs in Virginia, he was informed by the Keeper of a bridge in sight of Monticello, that the whole neighborhood well knew that Mr. J. took a quantity of Laudanum on the morning of July 4th and that he died under its influence. He further said that the friends endeavored to hush the matter, but could not. It was well known. . . . Your obliged and respectful servant.

Peregrine Wroth.


My dear Sir,

I have to-day your letter touching Jefferson; but I have not received the Tribune containing your article. [page 260:]

I read the article some days ago . . . and think it admirable. I never read anything in a newspaper which I think superior.

Now allow me to advise yon as to the mode of reply. Wait until the enemy has printed all that he intends to print. Then do not make a new article in the shape of a mere answer to the Ledger’s articles; but revise and extend your original article, taking notice of any new matter introduced by the Ledger, and replying to it, in connexion with the matter in your original paper. You will thus avoid the directly controversial form, which I think is always to be shunned, for there is no end to it, and a mendacious, half-crazy penny-a-liner like Jarvis can always have the last word. . .

Can you obtain certain evidence about the articles in Freneau’s paper? Where is the copy of the paper which you allude to? It would be worth a journey to Kamskatka to see it. . . In haste Yours,

H[orace] B[inney] W[a]]ace]. Phi’a, 18 Feb., 1860.

This advice was followed, and in addition to articles in The Tribune on 2 March and other dates, one on Freneau appeared in Graham’s Magazine for Sept. 1805. Respecting the copy of the paper about which Mr. Wallace asked, Griswold wrote: “Freneau made oath to a statement that Mr. Jefferson did not compose or surest any of the contents of his paper, but In his old age he acknowledged to Dr. John W. Francis that the secretary wrote or dictated the most offensive articles against Washington . . . and to Dr. James Mease he exhibited a file of the ‘Gazette’ in which what were allege to be his contributions were marked.”


Boston, Feb. 19, 1860.

Dear Rufus:

I write a line confidentially to ask at what Hotel I can bring my wife some time during next month when we shall visit New York for a day or two. We intend to be married about the 20th of March. . .

Very Truly,
J. T. F[ields].

P. S. — The little brevity touching your new Ed. which I put into the Transcript here seems to be travelling about and I read no longer ago than yesterday In a St. Louis paper that “no man in Am[erica] stands higher at the present time than R. W. G. in public estimation.” [page 261:]


Boston, Feb. 20 , 1850.

Dear Sir:

In a recent article of yours on Jefferson, you state that Philip Freneau positively charged Jefferson with the authorship of certain articles In the” National Gazette” and that a file of that paper existed in which Jefferson’s articles had been marked by Freneau’s own hand. I wish you would inform me of the authority for this statement, which has so important a bearing on Jefferson’s character for truth, seeing that he wrote more than once to Washington denying the having anything to do with any publication whatever bearing on the policy of his administration. The character of Jefferson, a subject I have now in hand, is one that needs all the light that can possibly be thrown upon it. Yours, &c.,

R. Hildreth.


Burlington, March 15, 1860.

Dear Sir [Griswold]: . . .

A rumor reached me last night that I was to be put in nomination by the anti-monopolists in the Legislature, for the Senate — perhaps to run against Stockton. Whether it will be done or not, I cannot tell. The idea has never occurred to myself, but if I can do anything towards defeating Stockton, I shall be glad. Of my own election, there would be no chance, for the Whig leaders hate me worse than the Monopolists. If it be done, however, I should, of course, like to have as many votes as possible, and the appearance of your article before the election might do, and probably would do, good. Prophets, you know, are honored in their own country to the extent that they appear to bear honor elsewhere. Think of this, and let me hear from you, and oblige Yours truly,

Henry C. Carey.


Mount Healthy, March 25, 1850.

Dear Sir:

. . . Well, how could I hope that it would be otherwise. I am but a simple and uncultured girl, and am perhaps best off in the shadow of my native hills. Again I beg your forgiveness, and promise that I will not listen to my heart again — not in this letter, certainly.

I half envy you the privilege of going abroad. I have sometimes hoped to see something of the great world beside in dreams, but I never shall. You must not, my dear Mr. Griswold, flatter yourself that I look any better than my daguerreotype — it is very correct, the expression not perfectly [page 262:] so, perhaps, as I change countenance a little during the Hitting. I hardly know how to describe myself and am half inclined to cut from the letter of a friend a description which he tells me he has just been giving Whittier of me, for strange to say, he has not flattered me. . . I am five feet, two inches tn height, not heavy, and not very thin, don’t know how much I weigh, have black eyes, and hair darkly brown, am a brunette, and decidedly plain, having seen my twenty-ninth birthday. . . I am sometimes passionately fervent in piety, and sometimes rebellious as the fallen. I love with deepest intensity, but do not hate, those I do not like I am indifferent to . . . Mr. Whittier kindly proffers his aid and assistance in the getting up of the proposed work — advises me not to be in a hurry, which I shall not be; strongly recommends Ticknor. . .

And so you do not like my rhymeless efforts. The two pieces you speak of are in my own opinion among the best things I have written, as also in the opinion of some whose judgment I value highly. I am glad you have told me what you think. I agree with you that lyrical composition is my forte, if I have any, but I am accustomed to let my thought flow as it will. Among literary artists I have no place. Mr. Whittier has Just favored me with some very good advice, I hope I shall profit by it. He extends us a cordial invitation to visit himself and sister at Amesbury, which I hope to be able to accept.

I am sensitive to a painful degree, and have never had a correspondent, save yourself, of whom I could say they have written nothing I could wish unwritten. . .

You think Phœbe more grave than I. She is less so. Her daguerreotype does not do her justice. Her countenance in conversation is almost mirthful. She has dimples which show themselves constantly, is very sarcastic (tho’ she denies it), and enjoys the reputation of being a wit. She is less (sic) and younger than I. . . Ever sincerely yours,

Alice Cary.


Phil’a, April 2nd, 1850.

My dear Doctor . . .

I have read your criticism on B. A. Poe; it is terrific, but not more so than the moral aspects of your subject. In literary execution it rivals the best passage In Macau lay. I knew something of Poe — something of the unfathomed gulfs of darkness out of which the lightning of his genius lent its scorching flashes. . . [page 263:]

When you visit us again you must come and dine with me — my book on California is delayed by my bad health. Your very sincere friend,

Walter Colton.


“In March, 1850,” writes Mr. J: H. Ingram, “was published in ‘The Southern Literary Messenger’ . . . a still more dastardly attack on the dead man than the unsavoury ‘Ludwig’ article. It had evidently been written and printed in hot haste, and was so disgraceful and cowardly that the editorial proprietor of the magazine deemed it necessary to append a short note to the effect that it had been Inserted during his absence. Who wrote this article? . . . Was not this miscalled (by Griswold) ‘defender’ then. Griswold himself, or some one acting under his inspiration?”

Richmond, 2 April, 1850.

My dear Sir . . .

I can scarcely express the mortification I felt, upon my return, at finding in the sheets of the forthcoming Number of the Messenger the coarse abuse of yourself and Willis which disfigured the article on Poe. At first I ordered it suppressed, at any expense, but being informed that this would delay the number most unreasonably, I was compelled to send it forth with my personal disclaimer by way of amende honorable. I had indeed given the writer of the article [Daniel] a carte blanche to say what he pleased, but I had not the faintest conception that this freedom would have been abused by attacks upon my esteemed friends. I am sure you did me the justice, before reading the Editorial Note, to suppose that I had no hand in the preparation of such vulgar and unmerited strictures. The sentiment of mortification was inspired also by the cruel treatment of poor Poe himself, and I felt this so keenly that I sent to Willis for the Home Journal an article, by an intimate friend of mine, tending to remove some of the nettles cast by my contributor on the poet’s grave. . . Most truly yours,

Jno. B. Thompson.


Ganandaigua, June 5, 1850.

Mary E. Hewitt, Dear Madam:

I learn by the papers that you are about editing a work, the profits arising from the sale of which are to be applied towards the purchasing of a monument, in memory of Mrs. Osgood.

I am well aware that you will find in others — and those who are known to fame — glad co-operators in your noble undertaking — but if you have room [page 264:] for one more contributor, I have a story which I will most gladly give — for there Is no other way In which I can aid, or express my affection and admiration for a poetess whom I so much wished to see and to know. . . I have contributed a good deal to the magazines as Caroline C — and mention this as you may perhaps have seen sketches under that signature in Graham’s and Holden’s. . . I remain, dear madame. Most respectfully yours,

Caroline Chesebro’.


61 Federal St., Boston, June 18 [1850].

Mrs. M. E. Hewitt,

I thank you, dear Madam, for the kindness and promptness with which you have answered my note of the 6th Inst, especially do I thank you inasmuch as you inform me that the cause of the omission into which I, with some anxiety, enquired is precisely what I believed it, and yet why I so believed, I can hardly tell except, that I at times have had, as by intuition, a sort of weird-like perception of hidden truths startling to myself I Still so utterly and entirely a stranger as I am to Mr. Griswold, I cannot account for the injustice, unkindness and wrong which seems like design with which he pursues me. I have no feelings of unkindness toward him, — I have never had, — and all I know of him may be told in few words and apologize in some degree for my own feelings. Of the publication of his ‘Female Poets’ I was entirely ignorant until it was announced from the press. My own name was not there. I secretly felt, I confess, that it should have been, all who knew me felt the same, as I was variously assured. But I did not blame him, for I presumed It was an inadvertence, as I was a stranger to him, a volume of Poems of 290 pp. I had published having run thro’ the first edition without ever requiring a notice from a New York paper. I did not regard it then as I have since, for I did not see the influence that such an omission would have and has had on my reputation; no — not on my reputation as a poet but on my claim to consideration as such, in ways that I cannot now mention, but which with my extremely delicate health (for thro’ my life nothing but stern mental energy has kept me out in the world), and all too sensitive heart, with an irrepressible — shall I call it Genius? — struggling for recognition, if nothing more, despite my determined efforts many a time to tread It out from my soul, I say this influence under these considerations has made me often pause, and faint, and despair, — and honestly pray heaven to avert from my children the price of this world-coveted gift, which for myself I early craved, but which I have learned to believe is [page 265:] woman’s curse. Still pride and delicacy forbade me to complain, nor did I ever speak of it to my nearest friend, until many of the very persons whose names Mr. G. had included in his book, expressed to me their surprise and dissatisfaction both verbally and by letter as I can at this moment show, at what they deemed an injustice from him to me. Even this I felt it would illy befit me to complain of it, or scarcely to assent to their words. But as time passed on I felt more and more the effect; as that was taken for a standard reference [book] . Thus now not quite a year ago I, with a feeble hand which I soon firmly expected would be stiffened and nerveless in the grave, ventured to write to Mr. Griswold [letter not found by editor] for the double purpose of letting him know that there was such a person in existence (for I did not know that he had recognized the fact,) and to bequeath to him a manuscript work of much labor which I had already prepared for publication, believing in case of my decease that he might make it of some consequence to himself and to the world. I at the same time hinted, in the gentlest and kindest possible manner, at the omission of my name in the “Poets,” secretly hoping that when I was dead he might correct the error, though never saying it to him. But what was my surprise to find that weeks and months passed away, and no notice was taken of my letter, not so much as to acknowledge the receipt of it. I had directed it to Philadelphia and, not knowing his place of residence, I presumed my letter had failed to reach him. for I could not believe he would be so discourteous and unmanly as not to make some mention of it had he received it, especially at that time when my heart was burthened with sadness and anxiety for the only legacy I could leave my family — a humble poet’s name! As you are aware I partially recovered my health, came back from the sepulchre to tread its weary way again more resolutely, turning the torch of Genius downward but it would flame up. At length the “Memoirs of Edgar A. Poe” were published by Mr. G., or edited I should say, and in the “preface” to that terrible history I noticed part of a letter referring to an injustice done Mrs. L. — I felt at once confident that Mrs. L. was myself and the “less than justice” in Mr. G. was the omission I am talking about. And I also noticed in that Memoir the copy of part of a letter from Mr. Poe to myself with an import tant sentence omitted, that is important if any part was permitted to be published there. Not knowing whether Mr. G. possessed any more of that letter, (for I still have the manuscript in my own possession, with his other letters), and wondering, if he had, why he should strike it out, I therefore, with a caution not natural to me, for I am too confiding in my nature and I [page 266:] think you have here proof, again wrote to Mr. G., simply asking him if in the first instance I was the person referred to, and in the second if what was there published of the letter to myself was all of that letter in his possession. I did mention that I had previously written to him “and presumed he did not receive my letter,” not so much as repeating any part of what I wrote before and from that time to this he has not deigned to answer me a word, tho’ I directed my letter to the care of Stringer & Townsend.

Now I should not feel grieved at the omission in the “Memorial” had not all this gone before, and did I not see that he may in this manner stand in my way forever and over-rule my literary destiny for no earthly reason, but, as it appears, to justify his first error before the public. It has grieved me beyond expression, I may not appeal directly to him, — it would be vain, and I have no heart to appeal to the kind public who have, so far as they might, in my own case out-criticised him. He might have thought my motives were unkind in putting the enquiries I did relative to the Memoir of Mr. Poe. But he misjudges me if so, for I wished simply to satisfy myself on these points without designing any harm to any. Could he or you, Madam, know my heart, ever careful, and sparing the feelings of others to the very torture of fire upon its own and its exceedingly weak and sensitive powers, he would grant me kind consideration, and you forgiveness for thus wearying you with a history that may not in the main interest yourself. To me indeed, tho’ I have wept; as I have written, in bitterness of spirit, this matter has but one important feature. It is, as I have said, already, that unkindness and injustice (for the words of six or eight of the best names he has enrolled in his book, not to speak of any others in the reading public warrant me in using the term injustice) may, as in the case of the “Memorial” [to Mrs. Osgood, — a gift-book edited by Mrs. Hewitt] control my loftiest and purest efforts to my own despair and the utter disappointment of my friends. Again Dear Madam, pardon me ‘for wearying’ you with these particulars, but the fullness of my heart compelled me to it, for it was a relief to speak my grievances. And hoping for absolution from one whose poet soul I am sure will exactly comprehend me and see that from the first I did not blame her, I remain Yours very truly,

Jane E. Locke.


Amesbury, 2lst June, 1850.

My Dear fr. Griswold:

I learn from my friend F. W. Kellogg that Alice and Phœbe Carey, of Ohio, are on their way to the East, and would be glad to see them [page 267:] at my place if they come to Boston. Presuming that thou wilt see them in N. T. I have taken the liberty to invite them, through thee, to call on me. I have been quite ill this spring and my sister also is an invalid, and we see little company, but I should feel sorry to have the “sweet singers” of the West so near and not see them.

Dost ever come to Boston? I should be very glad to see thee at Amesbury. I have a pleasant and grateful recollection of our acquaintance in N. T. and Boston. I shall be obliged to thee if thou wilt kindly remember me to Tuckerman. I like his last book exceedingly, and shall notice it soon in the Era. Thine cordially,

John G. Whittier.


New York, Aug. 12, 1850.

Dear James [Fields]: . . .

I am doing Poe’s third volume — the “criticisms” he called them — very remarkable, and a few, as Headley, Mathews, Mrs. Ellet, and some others, truly refreshing, as you will see. Peace to his manes! . . .

R. W. G.


New York, 26th Sept. [1850].

My dear James [Fields]:

I thank you very heartily for that notice in “The Bee.” These attacks on me for the Life of Poe are certainly undeserved. Everybody who knows anything about Poe’s life, understands perfectly well that I have suppressed much more than I have printed against him, and the preface to “The Literati” shows that I was absolutely compelled to write what I have written, by the assaults of Graham and Neal. . .

R. W. G.

This statement will sound highly hypocritical to Messrs. Gill, Ingram, Morgan, et al., but Griswold is not the only witness: —

“If Dr. Griswold had not been restrained by a foolish delicacy,” wrote C. F. Briggs, twenty years after Griswold’s death, “he might have given some startling evidences of the after contempt which the poet entertained for persons who trustingly believed they were passionately beloved by him. He could write the tenderest and most touching letters, which he would bedabble with real tears, as he folded the paper, to women upon whom he had no other designs than an intention [page 268:] of sending his wife or her mother to them to solicit a loan of $50.” In 1894, R. H. Stoddard wrote of Griswold’s life: — “It was hotly assailed on all sides; — by those who knew Poe well, and knew how truthful the mirror of Dr. Griswold was; — by those who knew Poe a little, and suddenly felt a great admiration for his genius, and pity for his failings; — and by those who knew Poe not at all, and who were consequently the most violent of all. There was not a biographic crime which was not charged to his account, including the invention of incidents which never occurred, and the forging of documents which happily are extant still, in the hand-writing of their designated writers. . . Whoever had a grudge against Dr. Griswold, — and the kindly, good-natured man had made many grudges when he edited his “Poets of America,” — went for him . . . in all possible ways through which they could get into print.” In the same year Prof. G. E. Woodberry went on record to this effect: “In writing a biography of Poe some years ago, the present writer had occasion to investigate the charges made against Griswold. The result was a conviction that the documents he quoted were genuine, and that the impressions he gave of Poe’s character and career was just, while his errors were due to Poe’s own falsehoods. . . As will be seen, these papers [first published in Aug.-Oct. 1894.] fully vindicate Griswold’s veracity in essentials, and sustain Redfield’s [favorable] view of his temper; it must also be allowed that, so far was he from blackening Poe’s memory, he might easily have made a worse use of his opportunity had he been actuated by malice. . . It is a gratification that such tardy justice can be done to a man who has so long been vilified . . . without sound critical grounds.”


Boston, Nov. 11, 1850.

Dear Rufus . . .

Next let me ask when “The Memorial” is to come out, and if Hawthorne has been paid for his article. It is important to him just now I doubt not. Next, I beg to say, if you would like it I can give you a very [page 269:] sweet little poem by G. P. R. James which he wrote in my wife’s Album. He told me I might print it where I chose. Of course you being A. 1. in my memory I ask you if you would like it. If you would my wife shall copy it and send to you. Of course in printing it you would simply say it was given you by a friend, but mention no names. . . In haste but very Truly Trs.,

J. T. F[ields].


Monday noon [1851?]

[Alice Cary to Griswold] . . .

I am out of humor and indignant this morning — two or three things have made me so, one of which was a eulogy of three columns’ length in the Era, of Grace Greenwood. Dr. Bailey takes every occasion to praise her, and me he never notices and pays me so little that I am ashamed to mention the sum. Of course he has a right to his preference, but I wish to attain a position that will enable me to ask more or cease writing for him — and I will do it. . .


No. 116 Leonard St., March 28th, 1851.

Dear Sir . . .

If Poe ever left any letter in which he speaks ill of me, the fault was his own — not mine — and he will have to answer to God for the injustice. He, no doubt, felt piqued when I accused him of having stolen his “Raven” from my Poem “To Allegra Florence in Heaven” — which you know he did — if you know anything at all about it. The same is true of his Lectures on Poetry — besides many other things.

You are very much mistaken if you suppose that I endorse everything that Poe did. He married the Venus Urania in early life; but afterwards committed adultery with the Venus Pandemos. Yours truly,

Thos. H. Chivers.


Hall, Copperstown, Apr. 27, 1851.

Dear Sir:

I have delayed answering your letter because I expected to have been in town before this. I had a fall, a day or two since, owing to a foot’s slipping. That has prevented my travelling, but the ill effects are disappearing, and I hope to be sound, quoad that difficulty, in a day or two.

I know of no female on my side, for your book. I had a sister, she [sic] that was killed, who was very highly appreciated and is very generally [page 270:] known in Philadelphia, but it must have been at a later day than during Washington’s time, — In Adams’ presidency. But Mrs. Ralph Izard is your woman. She was Alice, daughter of Peter De Lancey of West Farms and Elizabeth Golden, a daughter of Lt. Oot. Cadwallader Oolden. Her sisters, all distinguished women, were Mrs. John Watts, Mrs. Thomas Barclay, wife of the late and mother of the present consul, Mrs. John Cox, the uncle (he, I mean) of the Beekman.

Mrs. Izard was a beauty and a very elegant woman. She was with her husband in Europe during the Revolution (see her daughter’s, Mrs. Deas’ book) and when he was elected to the first senate, accompanied him to the seat of government. She must have been a very conspicuous woman there, as she was, long after her husband’s death, in the society of Philadelphia.

Gen. Izard was her son. But all this I can giye you by word of mouth, I trust, next week. Adieu.

J. Fenimore Cooper.


New York, April 29th, 1851.

Rufus Wilmot Griswold, Esqre.,

Dear Sir:

With this note you will be handed my book; accept it from me as a tribute to your worth. By the sale of the writings contained in it I have managed to support a large family for the last eighteen months; I am now starring, and if, through your influence, you could get me the situation even of a porter I would be proud to fulfil its duties; I have labored long and vainly for a permanent stipend, but without success, for my dear wife and little children I will accept of anything. I beg of you therefore for their sake to make some exertion for me. I am in dire want, and on the “knees of my heart” I entreat yon; if you cannot do it for me, I will not say it was because of want of inclination but set it down rather to the numerous applicants who beseige you from hour to hour. Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience. I am, Dear Sir, Yours sincerely,

William Pembroke Mulchinock.


Riverside, June 10th, 1851.

Rev. Rufus W. Griswold, Dear Sir,

The prominent position which you have always occupied in the literature of our country; as well as the esteem and friendship which my Father has so often expressed towards [you] embolden me to address you although I have not the pleasure of your acquaintance. [page 271:]

I have been in the habit for some time of writing verses for my own amusement some of which, (copied from the Missionary, a paper which I used to edit) yon may have seen in the newspapers over the signature of “D.”

I take the liberty now of writing to ask your advice with regard to the publication of such fugitive pieces as I may write from time to time, in reference to receiving some remuneration for them.

Hoping that you will excuse the liberty I take in thus troubling you. I remain, dear Sir, Very Respectfully,

W. C. Doane.


Norwich, Conn., June 27, 1851.

Mr. Townsend, Sir,

I shall draw on you next week for $200., and I hope the draft will be duly honored. I shall probably not have occasion to draw again until the time of settlement in November — unless you could meet a further demand for 100 or 150 in August — say the 20th.

I hope the Lorgnette is selling well: As yon may wish to advertise a “book for the watering places,” I write an advertisement which I think would be taking.

“Book for Newport, Saratoga and Sharon.” Whosoever wishes to find sketches of the modes at the several watering places, and portraits of such famous characters as he would like to know, would do well to provide himself with a copy of The Loronette. The book is specially commended to all belles who wish to make a sensation, to all old ladies who have not lived out their time, and to such men about town as wish to multiply their triumphs. They will find in this book a catalogue of all their essential qualities, with plain directions for multiplying their attractions, and for enlarging the sphere of their action. The Fourth Edition is Just issued in beautiful style, and contains portraits of many distinguished members of refined society, drawn from life by that accomplished physiognomist, Mr. Felix Darley. The price, $2.50, is precisely what one pays for a bottle of Lafitte at his dinner, and we are confident that the book will help a man’s digestion, better than the wine.

Please to copy the advertisement before sending to the paper.

I remain Yours, etc.,
Don. G. Mitchell.

[page 272:]

[Unknown to Griswold.]

D. G. Mitchell was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on 12 April, 1822. His father, pastor of the Second Congregational Church in this town, and ranking high for his natural endowments and scholarly acquirements among the clergy of the State, was youngest son of the Hon. Stephen Mix Mitchell, chief justice of our Supreme Court, and at one time Senator from the State in, I think, the first congress. S. M. M. was of a Scotch family, and married a daughter of Donald Grant of Invernessshire, Scotland, who came to this country in 1732. On the mother’s side, D. G. M. descends from Nat. Shaw of New London, Ct., (Government agent during the Revolution, whose only daughter married Rev. Ephraim Woodbridge. Nat Shaw Woodbridge was the grandfather of D. G. M. He died in 1792. When D. G. M. was about eight years old, and absent from home, he lost his father. He was for six or seven years at the Ellington Schools, entered Yale College in 1837. graduated in 1841. Allusions to school and college are given in the Reveries of a Bachelor. His mother died while he was in college. He had lost besides an elder brother and two sisters. Although he maintained a handsome standing as a scholar, his health was very poor, and immediately on leaving college he retired to his farm in Salem, Ct., a part of an estate that had long been in the family. He spent a year here hunting and fishing when health and the weather permitted.

On coming of age he assumed the management of the farm, which he continued till the autumn of 1844. During this period he rarely went off the premises of his own and an adjoining estate. He became expert both in the practice and theory of agriculture, for which he still retains an almost enthusiastic liking.

I was much amused one day last summer when we had strolled into a field where mowers were at work, to see their admiring looks at his skillful wielding of a scythe. A stretch of stone fence that he built entirely with his own hands around one of his lots, is considered a model of its kind among the Salem farmers. The readers of the Lorgnette and Reveries have not seen Ik Marvel’s most finished work yet. Old Hodges (you will find him at the Carleton House) can tell you of his acquirements as a sportsman with gun and angle. During his farming period he contributed to Agricultural journals, and gained a prize offered by the New York State Agricultural Society for a plan of farm buildings — see its vol. of Transactions for 1842. He also contributed a long article on Field Sports to the North American Review. In 1844 he went to Europe, where he remained two years, [page 273:] walking through nearly every county of England. Very much of Switzerland and France was also traversed on foot. The winter of ‘44-6 was passed in the island of Jersey, the summer of 1846 in Scotland, France and Switzerland; the following winter was spent in Italy. In the spring he came up through Germany and sailed for America in early Autumn. During all this time Mr. M. corresponded regularly on agricultural subjects with the Cultivator Newspaper. On his return he was strongly urged to write an extended work on European Agriculture. The following winter, ‘46-7, was passed in Virginia, So. Carolina, and Washington, whence he wrote letters to the Courier and Inquirer over the signature of Ik Marvel. The ensuing summer the letters were continued from Saratoga and other parts of the United States. The Fresh Gleanings appeared from the press of the Harpers this summer, under the assumed name of Ik Marvel. The winter was passed in a law office at New York.

Here the idea of the Lorgnette first suggested itself, and an initial chapter was prepared in the first instance for the columns of the Courier and Enquirer, but was afterward withdrawn. In tiie spring of 1848 he sailed again for Europe. He was in London three weeks during the Chartist troubles, then passed over to Paris, where, excepting a brief visit to Bordeaux, he stayed till the summer of 1849. During this visit he wrote largely to the Courier and Enquirer. On his return he wrote the first part of the Battle Summer, covering a period prior to his last visit to Paris — the sequel, containing his observations while on the ground, is not yet published. The ill success of this last book induced the attempt to mystify the public by the trial of a new style. The Lorgnette was accordingly begun, as much in jest as earnest, and with no very definite plan as to the length of its continuance. Indeed, partly from original indifference, and partly from its slow sale at the outset, my friend twice determined to abandon it. He once or twice failed to have the MS. ready in time for the regular day of publication, and I do not think he would have written No. 9 and onward but for my urging him to keep on. Up to that time there were not more than half a dozen in the secret. Others were from time to time made acquainted with or discovered it. But on the publication of the New Series, and indeed at the close, there were but very few who knew who the author was. D. G. M. himself was not in the city half of the time, and the different nos. were written at almost as many places. By the way, we knew that you knew. Dr., early in May. Who told? or was it by observation of style? M.’s most intimate friends were as much in the dark as the rest. Whereby came [page 274:] much food for laughter. He does not yet publicly acknowledge it anywhere but it is now so well known, or rather understood, that his friends make no hesitation of charging it on him.

The publication of his first Reverie brought such favorable notices as to induce him to develop the idea still further in a book, and he continued them up to their present shape while engage upon the closing papers of the Lorgnette. It appeared about the same time as the second volume of the Lorgnette. He is now busily engage upon various literary enterprises. Of the nature of these, as of his habits of mind etc., I hardly feel at liberty to speak, — as I only know of them because of our long and confidential intimacy. I will say, however, that if God gives him health for the next ten years, he will at the end of that time show a result of his stewardship that will prove large talents to have been put out at good usury, and which will add a new class of readers to those who admire either the Lorgnette or the Reveries. Neither of these books gives his best strength. Works of a lighter nature, on one of which he is already specially engaged, will occupy his by-time.


Leverington, Phi’a Co., Pa., July 10, 1851

My Dear Sir:

I send for your acceptance a copy of Brantz Mayer’s Address on Logan and Cresap, before the Md. Histl. Society. You will discover by it, if you find time for its perusal, that I am engaged in some border historical and biographical researches — and, God permitting, I hope, some of these days, to be able to send you some of my crude productions.

As you take so much interest in the present and prospective literature of the country, you may not be uninterested if I specify somewhat my designs. I will briefly say that I contemplate a work on the Life and Times of General George Rogers Clark — whose old papers I have, and a Iar|e number of whose old Indian fighters and contemporaries I have seen, and whose reminiscences I have fully noted: — a Life of Col. Daniel Boone — Memoirs of Gen’l Simon Kenton — Life and Campaigns of Gen’l John Sevier of East Tennessee — Life of Gen’l James Robertson, with Sketches of the early settlement of the Cumberland country, now Middle Tennessee, — Life and Adventures of Capt. Samuel Brady, with Sketches of the Pioneers and Border Wars of the Upper Ohio Valley. — Life of Col. Wm. Crawford — of Col. Wm. Whitley — etc., etc. Another on the early settlement, Pioneers, and Indian Wars of West Virginia, — and yet another on the Life and Adventures of the [page 275:] Wetzels, with notices of the early history of the Wheeling region. And I half incline to attempt a work on the Border Warfare of New York — or a History of the Senecas, which would cover the same ground. For all these works I have — or think I have, a sufficiency of original materials, together with a very complete collection of border works, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers — Pioneer Manuscript Journals, correspondence, etc. I have some 20 vols, of my manuscripts bound — and I think I have manuscripts enough when arranged and bound to make some 80 or 40 more. . .

I may add, that I am a Baptist — and thus claim a fraternity of feeling with and for you. I have long desired to make your acquaintance, but have been restrained from obtruding myself on your notice from feelings of delicacy. Beside, I have had little time that I could devote to literary friendships, having for some fifteen years, as health would permit, been a complete slave to my border researches. The enclosed “circular,” published, as you will see, over five years ago, will tend to give you some idea of my labors — I have fully doubled my collections since its issue. . . I remain, dear Sir, your friend and Christian brother,

Lyman C. Draper.

P. S. — When I got up my circular I designed a single work — Lives of the Pioneers: Since procuring the Clark papers, and greatly augmenting my collection otherwise, I changed my plan, and design, as already intimated, separate and distinct works, each complete in itself. If I live to complete this design, I shall still hope to condense them into a single work, Lives of the Pioneers and a counterpart work, Lives of Western Indians. The work on Clark, with a preliminary sketch of the Aboriginal occupancy of Kentucky, and early Anglo-American Explorations of the West, will reach a couple of thick octavos — the other works will be single volumes. You see I have a large amount of labor laid out — whether I shall ever perform it all, or any considerable part of it. Time must determine. If life and health are spared me, I hope my energy will carry me through. Pardon, my dear Sir, this egotism. . .


4 August, 1851.

My dear Dr. Griswold,

I enclose to you the lines of which you write, “Stand, like an anvil, when it is beaten upon;” which, in my case, have “more truth than poetry.” As is the way with men, whom kindness always emboldens, I suggest, at the suggestion of my two sons (now both in holy orders) that [page 276:] for “The Voice of Rama,” “The Waters of Marak,” and “The Christian’s Death” you substitute these or some of them. With many desires for your prosperity, and every blessing on yourself and all you would have blessed, I am faithfully your friend,

G. W. Doane.


Dear Sir . . .

During my absence I called at Toronto and spent a couple of days very agreeably. I saw nearly all the principal people and talked with many of them on this subject. As a matter of course Lord Elgin was opposed to protection, but I was surprised to find so little tendency towards it among the Canadian members of the government. They have no idea of improvement except in connection with roads by which to enable the producer to go to the consumer — instead of at once bringing the consumer to him. With great regard, I am Yours very truly,

H. C. Carey.

Burlington, August 5, 1851.


Boston, August 18, 1851.

My Dear Griswold:

I have never thanked you for your kind letter received during my wife’s illness. Since she has passed away my mind has not been calm enough to allow of my writing to any of my friends. I begin now to see more sunlight through the black clouds of affliction which have surrounded me. It is a severe blow, Griswold, to all my hopes of happiness, but I make strong efforts to think all is Right. We shall know all sooner or later. I hope to meet you before long. Till then and always, dear Rufus,

Yours Sincerely,
J. T. F[ields].


August 19, 1851.

Dear Griswold . . .

Cheever has made considerable of a book out of [Walter] Colton’s remains. He makes him out one of the finest, frankest and most generous of men. This I never thought. On the contrary, I thought, of all men, he was the last to come directly to an object. He would set a trap to catch anything when he could secure it by putting out his hand. There was, as it seemed to me, a petty strategic interwoven with the texture of his mind, which spun itself out in his every day action, and fairly showed [page 277:] sometimes in the cock of his eye — (Inter nos) — . . . he was a better man than many, but not perfect. I think the range of his mind direct — the circle it ran in, small. No man ever did more or got more credit by a mere play of words. He had an ear for the song of words. The clatter of sentences was the inspiration of his composition.

As an Alcalde he did himself more credit than by all the other parts of his life. In this office he was doing well for himself, and acted well, and, as far as I can see, justly for others. It was this part, and his conduct therein which is the chief support of his name, and gives a chief respectability to all of him that goes before and after it.

I think your sketch of C. Colton a good one — it is discriminating as to his merits — he has made a great deal out of a few principles of common sense. As a writer he seems to have regarded the bulk more than execution — a big book, with him, is the same as a great one. I shall be glad to hear from you. Very truly your friend,

H. Hooker.


Cooperstown, Oct. 2, 1851.

Dear Sir . . .

For my own part I have never doubted that my Father’s position with another generation would be higher than that accorded to him while he was still among us; but I was scarcely prepared for such an immediate expression of public feeling with regard to the loss, which, as Americans, has fallen upon us all in common.

There is no country, however rich in talent, which can afford to lose from her ranks a man of high genius, unclouded integrity, and Onerous heart. Like his own Harvey Birch, he whom we mourn, carried in his bosom a disinterested love of America none the less real because too often misunderstood, and diligently belied by patriots of the market-place.

But those who were pleased to traduce him are thoroughly forgiven: the end of the upright was peace.

You allude to the affection he merited. Ah, sir, there indeed he was sorely misrepresented! No man had warmer sympathies, stronger affections, or a more social temper. Yet with the exception of those who knew him intimately, he was no doubt usually considered as a gloomy, disappointed cynic — a character wholly foreign to his nature, as you must be well aware, from your own intercourse with him. But I shall be led too far, though less I could not say. [page 278:]

For your kind sympathy in the grief of his family we beg you will receive our sincere acknowledgement. to ub the lots is indeed irreparable. He had the respect and affection of our whole hearta. Believe me sir,

Very respectfully,
Susan Fenimore Cooper.


Amesbury, 10th 10th mo., 1851.

My dear friend,

I was glad to get thy note relative to Alice Carey’s book: I think very highly of her genius — I do not think thou hast at all overrated her. Some of her prose pieces are unique in their simplicity, beauty and pathos.

I would be glad to aid in the publication of her volume: but am now forbidden to write: indeed I have not been able for months to answer, even briefly, my correspondents. The cooler weather I trust will in some degree benefit me, but I cannot depend upon it.

If my opinion, however, could have any weight with your public here I have no hesitation in saying that it is not often that so rich and valuable material is offered for an American book, as might be prepared from the prose sketches of Alice Carey. I am not able to do justice to her or myself, now; and on that ground must decline writing a preface; but, I do not think well of such things. The public look upon prefaces of this kind as an attempt to pass off, by aid of a known name, what otherwise would not pass current. This would do it justice to such a writer as Alice Carey. She can stand by herself, on her own original merits. Let me know if anything which I can do is needed to facilitate the publication. Very truly thy friend,

J. G. Whittier.

P. S. — I will call attention to the proposed publication in some of the Boston papers as soon as I feel able to send or go there; or what will perhaps be better I will notice it in the Era. I think if I were Alice I would leave out all poetical quotations — as a general thing they injure and weaken the effect of her admirable prose.

Miss Cary is almost as completely forgotten as the previous generation of woman poets, — Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Lewis, etc. When she died, in 1871, she had already outlived her literary popularity, such as it was. Within two years of their deaths ‘The Christian Union’ wrote of the sisters: — [page 279:]

They began early to write verses which treated of sorrowful experiences, of unrequited love, of painful illnesses, of hopes and fears plaintively mingled, and of untimely deaths. It was linked sadness long drawn out. Tender regret and weak sentiment seem to us — we say it unwillingly — the staple of what they wrote. Their sobbing lyrics do not melt; — they ruffle and vex us.

The elder sister wrote more, was better known and her talent thought to be greater than the younger’s. With this opinion, we cannot agree. . . Phœbe seems to have been freer from false sentiment, less given to gentle preaching, and less affected in style than Alice. . . Phœbe has a more natural, a plainer tone; is far less morbid, and shows us now and then something very like humor, of which we find no trace in her sister.


Richmond, 2 December, 1851.

My dear Doctor . . .

The Messenger is almost “gone.” I look into the future to see nothing but disaster; my affairs are really so much embarrassed that the sale of my library hangs over me like an impending doom, and with no coryphaeus of the red-flag fraternity like Keese to “knock down” my darlings. Four years of hard labor find me in debt, my small patrimony exhausted, and myself utterly unfitted for any sort of employment. I have followed the will-o’-the-wisp, literary fame, into the morass, and it has gone out, leaving me up to the armpits in the mud. Eh bien, I snap my fingers and whistle care down the wind I . . .

Jno. B. Thompson.

P. S. — I remark your hit at me [in “International”] about “Injustice to the South.” Nevertheless the fact is so, and the “Scarlet Letter” hailing from Charleston would have lined portmanteaus. Why can’t Legaré find a publisher? Depend upon it, if another De Foe should emerge from the pine-barrens of Carolina, with a Robinson Crusoe under his arm, he would find an Edmund Carll in every back shop of Northern publication houses. Legaré is not De Foe, to be sure, but if he lived in New England it would be different. Why did Ik Marvel’s Reveries, first and second, excite no remark when first published in the Messenger? Because the Messenger is Southern and for no other reason in the world. God help us! [page 280:]


West Newton, Dec’r 16th, 1851.

My dear Sir,

As regards the proposition for twelve short tales, I shall not be able to accept it; because experience has taught me that the thought and trouble, expended on that kind of production, is vastly greater, in proportion, than what is required for a long story.

I doubt whether my romances would succeed in the serial mode of publication; lacking, as they certainly do, the variety of interest and character which seem to have made the success of other works, so published. The reader would inevitably be tired to death of the one prominent idea, if presented to him under different aspects for a twelve-month together. The effect of such a story, it appears [to] me, depends on its being read continuously. If, on completion of another work, it should seem fairly and naturally divisible into serial portions, I will think further of your proposal.

I have by me a story which I wrote just before leaving Lenox, and which I thought of sending to Dr. Bailey of the National Era, who has offered me $100 for an article. But, being somewhat grotesque in its character, and therefore not quite adapted to the grave and sedate character of that Journal, I hesitate about so doing, and will send it to the International, should you wish it at the price mentioned. The thing would make between twenty and thirty of such pages as Ticknor’s editions of my books — hardly long enough, I think, to be broken into two articles for your magazine; but you might please yourself on that point. I cannot afford it for less than $100. and would not write another for the same price. Very truly yours,

Nath’l Hawthorne.


Randolph, N. T., December 27th, 1851.

Rev. Dr. Griswold: . . .

As you commenced your editorial career in this county, at an early day, you may feel interested in knowing the progress of the press in this region since your departure. There are now five papers printed in this county, viz.: three in Ellicottville, one at Lodi (now Gowanda) and one in this place. B. H. Shankland still continues in the Republican, while Sill, his predecessor in that office, is publishing a Whig paper in the same place. The other papers have been started quite recently. Olean, the name of which has been changed — is now growing very fast. Though never destined to realize the anticipations of its early settlers, it is yet bound to be a place of some little importance. The Erie Railroad has proved of more benefit to it [page 281:] than the hopes formerly inspired from its being the bead of navigation of the Ohio and its tributaries.

This county has grown very fast of late, and will yet be noted for its resources and agricultural wealth. It is no longer known by the name of “Cold Cattaraugus.” But I am wearying you with something in which you may feel no interest whatever, and I will close.

Begging pardon for obtruding myself upon your notice, I remain. Dear Sir, Very truly yours,

Chas. Aldrich.


London, January 6, 1853.

Rufus W. Griswold, Esq., Dear Sir,

I duly received your favor of the 9th December, your article, though it necessarily bore the marks of the haste under which it was written, was very acceptable, and as you will perceive, was printed. We should be glad of your article on American women, providing you think you can make it very amusing; the English writers selected for the April No. are for the most part of so grave a cast, that we look to America for fascinating matter, and I trust I am not mistaken in supposing that the Continent cannot supply it in any form so perfect as in that of “American women.” But we. hope you will not be too severe on the “female emancipationists,”and we consider they have, despite their eccentricities, much sense and reason on their side. The dress question, i. e., Bloomerism, gains many converts in opinion here, by the way in which our ladies sweep the streets with their silks. The article should not be more than 24 pages. Yours very truly,

John Chapman.


In 1850, writes C. G. Leland in his Memoirs, “I went now and then to New York, which I liked better than Philadelphia. I was often a guest of Mr. [R. Burleigh] Kimball. He introduced me to Dr. Rufus Griswold, a strange character and a noted man of letters. He was, to his death, so uniformly a friend to me, and so untiring in his efforts to aid me, that I cannot find words to express his kindness nor the gratitude which I feel. . . To the end of his life I was always with him a privileged character, and could take, if I chose, the most extraordinary liberties, though he was one of the most irritable and vindictive men I ever met, if he fancied that he was in any way too familiarly treated.” [page 282:]


Phil’a, Jan’y 30, 1862.

Dear Doctor:

I don’t know the first thing about the editors of Arthur’s Gazette, either by sight or name, and don’t want to. I only know that George Graham, d — n him!, and birds of his feather, will throw mud at anybody or anything. Nor can I imagine anything about any conversation, but suppose that this is one of the thousand filthy squibs fired off every week in the stupid weeklies of our city at somebody on any pretence. Hay the Lord keep me clear of them I Herewith I send some Notices, and will dispatch enough on Monday to satisfy an ultra demand for German. . . Yours truly,


P. S. I had well nigh forgotten to state the first thought with which I sat down to write, viz., to thank you for your kindness while with you in New York on so many occasions, and to beg you to give my regards to Stoddard. . . What do you think of Graham’s courteous allusions to me? D—d little did George R. [Graham] ever do towards helping me on or out, and now that he finds me getting on, notwithstanding I have not received the stamp of his approbation, voila the consequences I Therefore, oh my friends, let us drink, and come what may, joy or grief, take our wine cool, for it doth greatly comfort the heart. “Caro Dottore,” as Don Pasquale says, when are you coming on this here way? Remember me to all and believe me, Yours truly,

C. G. Leland.


New York, Feb. 14, 1862.

My dear Sir. . .

I like the sample of Mr. Hetherwold’s poetry, which you have sent me. The sentiments are generous, the imagery poetical, and the versification sonorous. Yet I doubt its success with the public, if it appears as Mr. Hetherwold’s. I fully believe that the best verses in the world published in a volume by an author not yet known to fame, would be inevitably neglected. . .

W. C. Bryant.


Diary, Feb. 22: — Dined with Mr. Prescott, whose daughter is about to be married to a son of Abbott Lawrence, who was present. Passed the evening with George Ticknor, at whose house met the veterans of the Hist, Society — Savage, Buckingham, Whipple, Hudson, &c. [page 283:]

Feb. 24: — Busy with preparations for the Cooper demonstration.

Feb. 25 : — This evening the long expected meeting came off at Metropolitan Hall. Kimball and I went after Webster and afterward attended him to the Century Club, and about twd o’clock down to the Astor. The whole affair succeeded well.


Dear Sir. . .

You have no doubt seen that my old book is being translated in Italy. Truth makes its way by degrees, everywhere except into our college. Could you not assist in an effort to impress upon the minds of the Harvard people the necessity that exists for reconstructing the historical and politico-economical department by emancipating themselves from the dominion of Ricardo, Maltbus, and Old-fogyism? By so doing you would do much good. With great regard I am Yours very truly,

Henry C. Carey.

Burlington, Feb. 25, 1852.


Rome, Feb. 29, 1852.

Dear Griswold,

I write you a friendly letter herein enclosed. You may make any extracts you choose from it. . . Ever Yrs.,

J. T. Fields. I have written to the author ( a friend of mine in London ) of a new Poem called * Verdicts’ which is now going through the press and asked him to send you the early sheets at once for the International. It is capitally done and in the style of Lowell’s “Fable for Critics.” The author’s name I can not reveal as he means to keep it a secret. I have read the Ms. and think the idea a capital one.


Washington, May 4, 1862.

My Dear Sir:

Your letter found me upon my back — prostrate of Inflamatory Rheumatism. I have had a long, weary, painful month of it, in which I have suffered almost everything but the loss of my spirits. I am fairly out again, now, however, and although not yet well, am in a fair way soon to recover entirely.

I hardly remember what your letter contained — for I had. it enveloped immediately and sent off to Shreve. I do recollect, however, that it was full of the right sort of feeling for him; and I take pleasure in saying, that I have [page 284:] just received a letter from him, full of the right sort of expressions as to you. He is a noble man, Mr. Griswold ; and although “Drayton” is in several respects not worthy of him, it has a great deal in it that is good, and I want you and him to have a reciprocal regard and confidence.

I had a painfully interesting letter from Alice [Cary] written the afternoon before she left New York for her home in the West. I respect Mr. Hine, for many things in his life and character; but I cannot but regret that he should hare been so busy with other matters as to have left the shafts that wounded a good and sensitive heart to have been thrown by others — if thrown they had to be, by anyone. I have not yet answered her letter, but shall so soon as I feel able. . .

I read in the Mirror, last night, your successful vindication of Alice from the criticism of the Boston Transcript, with much pleasure. To her you have certainly prayed the “friend in need” who is “a friend indeed”. . .

Very Truly Yours,
W. D. Gallagher.


Dear Sir . . .

My friend Smith . . . is the only man that has made himself master of my political economy, and is the man that will have to teach it when I pass off the stage. He writes me that he would greatly like to furnish for the Westminster an ‘Independent” article containing a full exposition of the system, and the question Is, would it be published? He can, and will, furnish one that will certainly interest the readers of the Review as much as any other its editors can give, and I feel assured that they will do well to have it. If it be objected that protection enters into my system, I would remark that it comes in only as a consequence of previous error elsewhere, and as a mode of bringing about freedom of trade — and that it is not essentially necessary ever to mention the word. An exposition of the several laws that I have propounded for consideration would furnish matter sufficient for an article, leaving the readers to work out protection or free trade for themselves. Mr. Smith understands this matter perfectly. . .

Yours very truly,
Henry C. Carey.

Burlington, May 18, 1852.


Dear Sir. . .

I agree with you fully about Bishop Doane. He has done wrong, but he has not filled his pockets by wrong-doing, as our Railroad kings have [page 285:] done. His fellow Bishops would now crash him after he has done penance by spending three years in Purgatory, but I trust they will fail. . .

Yours truly,
H. C. Carey.

Burlington, May 17, 1862.

The charge against the bishop was that he had diverted from its legal use $250,000. which he controlled as trustee. The Tribune was unable to see that this was any the less reprehensible because the person who committed the act was a clergyman, and it had a good deal to say on the subject on the 18th July 1849 and later.


Burlington, May 18, 1852.

Dear Sir. . .

At your suggestion I have read the article in the North American. It is the veriest trash that is possible — precisely the sort of protectionist rubbish that convinced me many years since that there was no foundation for protectionist doctrines. Hoping to see you, I am

Yours very truly,
H. C. Carey.


Diary, Dec. 8: — Began to edit Illustrated News.

“The author of ‘Gossip of the Century,’ ” again to quote Mr. Leland, “has well remarked that ‘it has been said that however quickly a clever lad may have run up the ladder, whether of fame or fortune, it will always be found that he was lucky enough to find some one who put his foot on the first rung,’ which is perfectly true, as I soon found, if not in law, at least in literature. I went more than once to New York, hoping to obtain literary employment. One day Dr. Rufus Griswold came to me in great excitement. Mr. Barnum — the great showman — and the Brothers Beach were about to establish a great illustrated weekly newspaper, and he was to be the editor and I the assistant. It is quite true that he had actually taken the post, for which he did not care twopence, only to provide a place for me, and he had tramped all over New York for hours in a fearful storm to find me and to announce the good news. . . [page 286:]

Dr. Griswold was always a little “queer,” and I used to scold and reprove him for it. He had got himself into great trouble by his remarks on Edgar A. Poe. Mr. Kimball and others, who knew the Doctor, believed, as I do, that there was no deliberate evil or envy in those remarks. Poe’s best friends told severe stories of him in those days — me ipso teste — and Griswold, naught extenuating and setting down naught in malice, wrote incautiously more than he should. These are the words of another than I. But when Griswold was attacked, then he became savage. One day I found in his desk, which he had committed to me, a great number of further material collected to Poe’s discredit. I burnt it all up at once, and told the Doctor what I had done, and scolded him well into the bargain. He took it all very amiably. . . It is a pity that I had not always had the Doctor in hand — though I must here again repeat that, as regards Poe, he is, in my opinion, not so much to blame as a score of writers have made out.”


[G. W. Curtis to Griswold.*]

I was born in Providence, R. I., on the 24th of February, 1824. My maternal grandfather was James Burrill, Jr., a man famous in the annals of the State, who died at Washington in 1821, while senator from Rhode Island, — and he had made his mark in Congress by a speech upon the Missouri Compromise. My father, so long as he lived in the State, was a prominent political man, — Speaker of the House of Representatives, etc., — but never so situated as to be willing to accept the nomination for governor and for Congress. I lost my mother when I was two years old. She left only my elder brother and myself.

At six, I was sent to school near Boston, in the pretty village of Jamaica Plain. I remained there between four and five years, had a very good time in general, so far as I remember, and was called quite generally “Deacon” by the boys. I returned to Providence upon the occasion of my father’s second marriage, and was at school there until he removed to New York, in the year 1839. It was during the time between my return from [page 287:] school and coming to New York that I made my first essay, like everybody else, in print. I sent an anonymous poem to the newspaper, and was so frightened at seeing it in print that I kept the secret so closely that no one else knew it, nor knows it. I wrote several pieces in this way, and sent one or two to the New York American, all anonymous, of course, which were duly printed, and dazzled me.

When I came to New York, I was so struck by the whirl of business and the high, dark, narrow streets, — especially, I remember. Pine street, — that I was ready to abandon all my studies and go into a counting-room. The idea enchanted me, and I had no rest until I persuaded my father to let me do it. So, for a year, I was a clerk in a German and English importing house; at the end of the year stepped nimbly out of it, nor ever wanted to enter it again. So great was my distaste that I afterward, for a long time, avoided all the business parts of the city.

I resumed my studies with tutors, reading the usual college course, though not in college, until I began, with my brother, to be interested in Emerson, Brownson, and the other Boston philosophers, which interest resulted in our going to Brook Farm in the spring of 1842. I was merely a boarder, having made an arrangement of half work, half pay. At Brook Farm I made many of my best friends and tried all the asceticisms, — the no meat, the long hair, the loose dress, etc., — but was not a proper member. I left in the autumn of 1848; I returned to New York. But the country life had become so fascinating that I was glad to run off to Concord with my brother, in the following spring, and to pass a year there in a farmer’s family, working hard upon the farm. It was during this year that I made friends with Hawthorne, and that the club was formed at Emerson’s, of which I have spoken in the “American Authors.” I knew also, here, Alcott, Thoreau, and Ellery Channing, the poet.

The next year my brother and I rented a single room in a farmer’s house, and an acre of his land. We took the whole charge of the land, manuring it, plowing, harrowing, and planting. As we had so little, we gave it garden cultivation, and were well repaid. In the house we lived like Essenes. I was on the edge of a wood, and the baker came every day. We had no servant, and, as it was too much trouble to cook meat, I lived entirely upon baked apples and milk, with bread and biscuit, and we had a royally jolly and free time, except that our compassionate hostess would insist upon occasionally thrusting in plates of meat and vegetables, — but not often. I grew fat and hearty during these months, and sent an occasional bit of verte [page 288:] to the Harbinger, which was published by my Brook Farm friends. We had a good many books, and I read a great deal.

The next summer we passed in Concord, but at the house of an old Brook Farmer, whom we had known. In the winter I came home to New York, and we agreed to go to Europe daring the following year. Circumstances detained my brother, but on the 1st day of August, 1846, I sailed for Marseilles.

We arrived after a long, but beautiful, summer passage. I went, with Cranch and his wife, who sailed with me, to Genoa and Leghorn, and thence to Florence. The winter I passed in Rome, with my brother, who came afterward ; the spring in Naples, the summer in Florence and Venice. I was in Italy a little more than a year, then crossed into the Tyrol, and so into Germany. At Berlin I passed the winter and was matriculated at the university, where I attended several courses of lectures.

In the spring of 1848, when the French revolution broke out, I was in Berlin, and saw the famous fight of the 18th of March, in the streets. I wrote home an account of it, which Mr. Raymond, then editor of the Courier and Enquirer, chanced to see and obtained for publication, and immediately requested me to correspond regularly with that paper. I was too busy flying about Europe to promise to d5 so; but I wrote a few letters for him, which were published.

In the summer, in company with my brother and two others, I made a genuine pedestrian tour of Switzerland ; in the winter to Paris, whence I regularly corresponded with the Tribune. The next summer again into Switzerland, where I met an old friend, sho wished me to go to the East with him for the winter. I had decided to pass the winter in Spain, but was only too glad to visit the region of my dreams in the society of a friend. We descended the Alps to Genoa, went along the coast to Leghorn and Florence, thence to Civita Yecchia, and Rome, which was much changed from the Rome I had left by the presence of the French, and, crossing over from Naples to Palermo, travelled through Sicily, by Enna, to Catania; skirted Mount Etna to Messina, and passed down to Malta. After a few days in Malta we sailed for Alexandria, and left Cairo for the tour of Upper Egypt and the Nile on the 22d of December, 1849. We reached Cairo, upon our return, on the 26th of February, 1850, and the book was already written in my mind. I kept a journal for some time, but relinquished it, and wrote several of the chapters, just as they now stand in the book, but without any regular sequence. [page 289:]

We crossed the desert and went to Jerusalem and Damascus, crossed the Lebanon to Beyrout, and sailed for Malta in the early part of May, 1860. I went to England and staid with a friend two months, and reached Boston, upon my return, in August, 1860.

The following autumn I wrote “Nile Notes of an Howadji,” which were published in March, 1861. The book was issued by Bentley, under an arrangement with my publishers, but with a changed title — “Nile Notes by a Traveller.” He has since issued another and cheaper edition, and still another has been published, with the true title, as one of Vitzitelly’s cheap series — a shilling book, with a multitude of wood-cuts made for the work. During the winter I was somewhat engaged with the Tribune.

In the summer of 1861 I went lotus-eating, and wrote letters, which were published in the Tribune under the name of ‘Summer Notes of a Howadji.” They were written at the various spots. In the autumn I staid In Providence and wrote “The Howadji in Syria,” which was thus written after the “Lotus-Eating.”

The following winter I accepted an engagement on the Tribune, and remained there five months. The most important things I did were the critiques upon the Academy Exhibition.

“The Howadji in Syria” was published in April, 1862, and during the time I was connected with the Tribune I revised the summer letters, which were exquisitely illustrated by my friend Eensett, and were published late in the summer. “The Howadji in Syria” was issued in London by Bentley, who again changed the title ( I know not by what right) and called it “The Wanderer in Syria.” He also published a pretty edition of the “Lotus-Eating.”

I left the Tribune on the 1st of July and passed the summer in Newport, and wrote only the four articles for Putnam’s book [“Homes of American Authors”] — Bancroft, Longfellow, Emerson, and Hawthorne.

This autumn and winter I have been collecting and editing Downing’s contributions t6 the Horticulturist, and writing a preparatory memoir of him; writing for Putnam’s Monthly, of which contributions thus far “Our Best Society” has made the most stir, and am busy all the time in reading and studying for a “Life of Mehemet Ali,” which will be ready as soon as possible.

Voila tout! and Shelley died when he was no older than I am. [page 290:]


Dear Sir:

Herewith you hare a copy of the book, sewed, being the first I have myself been able to see. It has swelled, as you see, to 420 pages, but I am in hopes that its readers will not find it too long, presenting, as it does, a sort of coup d’oBil of the condition of man throughout a large portion of the world.

You will find that I have almost everywhere taken my facts from Englishmen, and among them all there is not one given on the authority of men holding opinions similar to my own, while most of them are from people diametrically opposed to me.

There is one thing in relation to it to which I should be glad to call your attention. To a considerable extent it will meet the approbation of our friends of the Tribune, but that will be a reason why the Herald will be likely to take the opposite side, which I should regret, as I am very anxious the book should circulate among Southern men. This might be avoided, if both Journals could be made to speak of it at the same time, and as you see Dana constantly, you might readily so arrange it. Think of this.

You will find that I am not of either the slavery or anti-slavery party. The latter are right in the object they desire to obtain, but totally wrong as to the mode by which it is to be attained. The former are wrong as to their object, but the fault is not with them, as I have desired to show. I am anxious that both should read, and while the Tribune can do much with one party the Herald can do as much with the other, for which reason I should be very glad to have it well noticed in both. . .

Yours very truly,
H. C. Carey.

Burlington, Apr. 20, 1858.


Memphis, Tenn., May 30, 1853.

Rev. and Respected Sir. . .

I would suggest to you the collecting and editing of the works of an American author of genius, and genius of the kind hardly to be surpassed by that of any other author our own country has produced, who is long since dead, and whose works ever since have been “scattered to the four winds.” I refer to Coffin, the “Boston Bard.” The only collection of any of his works that I know of, was that of a small volume of his poems during his life. What he wrote, (prose and poetry) was generally written for magazines; and has remained scattered ever since. He wrote some most exquisite poetry, as you are probably aware. His “Sunrise of the Soul” is [page 291:] one of the most beautiful poems in the language. His prose is equally fine. His “Ruins of Time” and “Christ on Calvary” for beauty of diction and sublimity of language are probably not to be surpassed in the language. . .

It is true that he was an inebriate, at least occasionally, and it was his great misfortune, — but so was Edgar A. Poe, and so, unfortunately, have been other fine writers. . .

Yours, etc.,
John B. Howard.

P. S. I was mistaken in asserting that Coffin, the “Boston Bard” was the author of “Ruins of Time” and “Christ on Calvary.” In looking over “Field’s Scrap-Book” I see that it was the “Mitford Bard,” who is the author of these two splendid prose articles. . .


Washington, 27th July, 1853.

My dear Sir, . . .

The author of the North American article is a little puffed up man, who has figured a good deal, lately, in New York circles, as an archaeologist [according to the index, the author was Prof. Bowen, the editor] I am informed that he was one of the firm of Squier & Chappell who were tailors in Philadelphia about 1840. Yours most truly,

Henry B. Schoolcraft.


Mrs. Griswold, Dear Madam. . .

I have just seen in the Bulletin of this city, copied from a New York Paper, a notice of the dangerous illness of your husband.

It is not, it seems as if it must not be, that Mr. Griswold is now to have his last trial. A great deal of sympathy is everywhere felt for him. He has many friends: he has made his mark on the age: he has done more important service to Literature and literary men than any other man that lives, or has lived in the United States. He lived in, and cultivated the largest range of American sympathy — with heart always ready to make a boast of every gift in his fellow countrymen that could be turned to any account in promoting the general credit and welfare. He is the most remarkable man of the times for the number and efficiency of his services and gratuities in behalf of obscure merit and struggling genius. In these and [other] ways too numerous for me to sketch he has enshrined himself in the memory of genius. His monument will be as enduring as the best of the works he has stamped with his approbation, and many will ever look to him as the author and spring of all the aspiring and credit they have. . . [page 292:]

Desiring for you and him the best supports, I subscribe myself

Your and his earnest friend,
H[erman] Hooker.

Philadelphia, Aug. 10th, 1868.

Mr. Hooker was a publisher, chiefly for anglican authors.


Dear Sir:

I send you [for the article in “Homes of American Authors”] a brief sketch of the scenery about us to accompany a view of my place, with some few particulars, of which you may make what use you please, either by leaving them where they are, incorporating them with the biographical notice, or omitting them altogether. I have an insuperable disinclination to writing about myself, except for the special gratification of my friends, instead of the public which, I apprehend, feels little interest in my character, habits or opinions; but hare departed from my uniform course to oblige Mr. Putnam and yourself.

I omitted to mention in its proper place that the name of ‘Placentia’ was given to my residence long ago by a former proprietor and has not been changed. Yours very truly,

J. E. Paulding.


Dear Sir: —

Your letter respecting G. G. Foster does honor to your heart, and I regret that the philanthropic plan you have proposed for his regeneration is rendered impossible by the extent of his crimes. We have knowledge of few distinct forgeries of my name to notes of 850, 850, 850 and 250 dollars. Three of them have been cashed, at fearful sacrifices.

One of them Is now in the hands of J. M. Smith, the newly elected Recorder of New York. Foster has also forced three notes of the various amounts of 850, 800 and 850 dollars, on Mr. Heyleman of Penna.

I am not his prosecutor, but a witness. He cannot escape the States Prison, I fear. Yours very truly,

W. E. Burton.

Chambers St., Jan. 12, 1854.


New York, 28th Jan., 1854.

Dear James . . .

You did not send me “Mrs. Mowatt,” but I have read it — with some disappointment. She might have put in so many entertaining reminiscences [page 293:] of “the old days we remember.” There are great passages in “Passion flowers,” but for the moat part I agree with Whipple about the book. Bryant, (who is sitting for me to Elliot) discoursed of it largely yesterday in the main with approval. Tuckerman, you know, wrote the notices in Eve. Post, Times, and Home Journal, and he has sent a long reviewal of it to Simms, for the Southern Quarterly. [Theodore] Parker will attend to its celebration in the Westminster, I understand. Bryant says that it would be “preposterous” — that was his word — to compare Mrs. Howe with Alice Carey. He had been looking over “Lyra,” Ac. with admiration and surprise at its extraordinary beauties. . . Can’t you order some copies of Mrs. Hewitt’s Poems, just printed by Lamport, Blakeman A Son? It is really a charming book, full of the best love songs written by any woman in this country. The edition is small — only 500 — and every cent of the proceeds, except actual cost of production, goes to Mrs. H[ewitt] who needs money, and is a most admirable woman. Yours,

R. W. G.


Boston, January 80, 1864.

My dear Rufus:

Many thanks for your kind letter, just handed me, warm and hearty from your pen. It is now my intention to be with you this day week. I intend, D. Y., to leave here on Monday (Feb. 6) morning and arrive at your door about 5 or 6 in the evening. Don’t be blown up my dear fellow about the time. If you do I shall not attempt N. T. again.

Would you had been here last evening. We dined Geo. Curtis; and the following order of gentlemen sat at table: [head] J. T. F.; [right] H. W. L[ongfellow], Dwight, Parker (H.T. P.), Hillard, Beed; [left] W. D. Ticknor, Curtis, Holmes, Whipple, Parsons, Giles [foot] . It seems to me we had a good time, very. The dinner being given by W. D. T[icknor] & Co., I was obliged to preside. I am nothing at such things, being of a serious turn of mind, but I got on after the oysters and hock not disgracefully. E. P. W. was glorious and Giles rampant. Hillard, genial as an Italian afternoon, discoursed of all he had seen and known. Curtis was fine and silvery; Hotanes balmy and golden. Longfellow was only kept from another Evangeline by the potent spells of a bottle of sherry which he held flowing before him. Rufus I thou shoulds’t have been there!

But all these things we will prate of next week when we sit face to [page 294:] face. I write now in great haste. With best regards to Mrs. Griswold and ail friends, Yours always most sincerely,

J. T. F[ields].


Moyamensing Prison, Feb. 20, 1864.

My dear Griswold —

It is only today, through Dudley Bean, that I heard of your magnanimous offer to assist me in my strait. His visit to my cell, and your kindness, are all the gleam of sunshine that has visited me, from all those who were once my friends. My wife — my only real, legal wife, and the noblest and most devoted of God’s creatures — has come on to New York, to see what can be done. I beg you to see her, and hear her explanation of my situation. A very small sum of money would probably save me, and completely change my destiny. I have resources from which I could soon repay it, if I were once free from this place. I had not thought of making any application to you, least of all, who I know have cause of unkind feeling to me; but as the remembrances of our childhood seem to still hold a place in your heart, I venture to appeal to them. Listen to my wife, and do what you can, and what your heart prompts. Your friend of many years,

G. G. Foster.


New York, 20th May, 1854.

Dear James:

I have been very ill since you were here and am now just “getting about” again. For four weeks I was unable to leave my room. Now, the only position in which I can write, on account of the pain in my side, is that of kneeling beside the table. In this way I have succeeded in writing a couple of hours today, and nearly as long on Friday and Saturday.

Dr. Francis told me last evening that Duyckinck’s project of a cheap one vol. abridgment of my [books on] American Literature was viewed by all the literary men as a very small business. A friend from whom I get at the clique’s secrets told me a few days ago that Whipple was also to suffer largely from this pilfering. Scribner has bought and had bound from them a complete set of [Whipple’s contributions to?] Graham’s Magazine. . .

R. W. G.

[page 295:]


Idlewild, June — 1854.

My dear Sir, . . .

I fear I have nothing relative to Poe, or by him, relative to myself. I preserve nothing. Finding the present hour always more than I have attention for, I get rid of all that is past as expeditiously as memory will allow. My father, who was here a week ago, gave me some curious facts as to our descent from Puritan clergymen, etc., etc., and these I will shape for you, when my eyes are better. As to Marryat the facts were always correctly stated, I believe, and that is all that is important. Any particulars of the matter, I would give you with pleasure. Too blind to write more, I remain

Yours truly,
N. P. Willis.


Jubilee College, Robins’ Nest Post Office, Illinois, June 1st, 1854.

Dear Sir . . .

I have a good many very interesting letters from Poe. Interesting as expressive of his feelings and struggles rather than of his opinions. Poor fellow I some of them written when he was in hopes of obtaining an office in the Custom House, Philadelphia; which the powers that then were had promised his friends for him. Some of those letters are in Cincinnati, some here. By what time do you want them? Of course there are portions of them which I ought not to permit to be published, but they certainly present him in a favorable light — the letters vary. . .

I am at present occupying the chair of Rhetoric in Jubilee College, and am preparing myself, in connection with it, to take orders in the Episcopal church, which I expect to do in the fall or spring. I would write “sketch of Poe but don’t feel like it now — I may do it hereafter.

Will you do me a favor? Last November I sent to Putnam for his Magazine an article entitled “How I came to be displaced, and what was the result.” . . . Now, I think the article one of my best — it was descriptive of life in Washington City. At any rate I would not lose it. I have no copy of it. Will you be so kind as to call upon Putnam and get the MS. for me? . . .

Can you tell me anything of Charles Fenno Hoffman? I was with him in Washington when this last visitation fell upon him. How I pitied him. . .

I am truly your friend,
F. W. Thomas.

[page 296:]

Boston, July 21, 1854. Mercury at 365 in the shade, 1365 in the sun.

My dear Rufus:

I am just putting my last dry dickey into my carpet-bag prior to a run to the seaside for 24 hours. Here is your kind note of yesterday and I hasten to say “Glad to hear you are better and that hot weather agrees with you. Alice Carey’s Cloyemook Children is the hands of the stereotypers and too far advanced for alteration. Don’t send Leland’s Bk. We have too much on hand to think of opening our eyes on anything more. Do you like my lines in Clarke’s Bk? And shall I send an engraved head to accompany them? This question is nonsense, of course, as I have no copy of my phiz that I would like to be engraved. Stick to cod-liver oil. I know several cases where it has done wonders.

On Wednesday I am to poetize at Dartmouth. Pity me. I am melting but I am always

Yours, Dear Rufus,
J. T. F[ields].


Boston, August 11, 1854.

My dear Rufus . . .

Nothing new here. All our friends are away and scarce a familiar face dodge in at the Comer to say “How are you?” or “God bless you.” I saw [R. B.] Kimball at Hanover. He is a fine fellow all over and full of good things. Heapoke of you fraternally and affectionately.

Smith is engraving my phiz! We hit upon a portrait which is considered so good that people know it. Will it be wanted for Clarke’s Bk? Let me know. Yours always, my dear R. W. G.,

J. T. F[ields].


Jubilee College, August 22d, 1854.

My dear Sir . . .

In looking over the letters I found so many comments upon men and things personal to Poe and myself, and which I could not with delicacy publish that I did not know what at first to do. I however have made a selection of the least objectional ones (for Poe wrote to me pretty much as he felt and had a great deal to say about individuals) and the most characteristic. You have the cream of the letters. I several times took up my pen to write you an article upon Poe, but I found that I could not do it to my satisfaction. I have appended two or three explanatory notes to the letters — which, as you please, you can publish or not, or make just such use [page 297:] of them as salts yon. If there is anything in the letters about which you wish any explanation let me know. . . You ask me if you should say anything about [J. H.] Ingraham, — as to his defects, etc. Ingraham and I in our literary career were very great friends — he onoe acted towards me badly, but he was sorry for it afterwards and I forgave him long ago. I like Ingraham. He has talents (genius rather if you make a distinction) and I think will be of great usefulness in the church. Some of his books are capital — “The Southwest, by a Yankee,” for instance. A man’s bad works, in the literary or any other line, being repented of, are forgiven by the higher power; and if he shows his true repentance by emendation and example (and particularly, like Ingraham, by putting on the armour of the Christian soldier) we should try to forget them. So I agree with what you say of speaking personally kind of him, and so deal gently with him in all regards. . . Very truly yours,

F. W. Thomas.


Ellicott”s Mills, Sept. 29, 1854.

My dear Sir —

It was a sincere gratification to me to see your handwriting once more in a letter. . . I wrote a’ note to Mrs. MacTavish, the daughter of Mrs. Caton, for the information you desired, and I now enclose you her letter [not found]. I have said to her in badinage that as Mrs. Carroll was not yet off the stage she might not wish to be set down as of the Washington era — to which in truth she does not belong. She was Henrietta Chew, a younger sister of Mrs. John Eager Howard of Baltimore. Her husband was Charles Carroll, son of the signer and brother of Mrs. Caton, and Mrs. Robert Goodloe Harper — of course the uncle of Lady Wellesley, the Duchess of Leeds and Lady Stafford — the three sisters who married in England. Mrs. MacTavish is another sister of theirs.

Charles Carroll died before his father, leaving the present Charles Carroll, the heir of Doughoregan Manor (the old residence of the Signer on Elk Bidge — about five miles from here.) Charles is the only son of Charles the 2nd. He has several sisters, Mrs. Bayard of Philadelphia, Mrs. John Lee of this state, Mrs. Jackson, — and Mrs. Tucker, who is dead. These are the children of the Henrietta whose portrait you sent me. She was married to Charles Carroll on the 17th of July 1800. I suppose under 20 years of age at that time. She is still living in Philadelphia with her daughter Mrs. Bayard, I believe. [page 298:]

This is all I suppose you wish to know. If you desire more, Charles Carroll is my neighbor and would doubtless tell me anything of his mother you might require to know.

I shall take great pleasure in your book when it sees the light, with the kindest remembrances and regard, Very truly yours,

J. P. Kennedy.


Moyamensing, March 12, 1866.

Sir —

There was a time when I should have dared to write, “my dear Griswold” — there was a time when what I am going humbly to beg, as a last mercy to a broken-hearted, helpless and friendless human being, I should have boldly claimed of my friend — the companion of my boyhood — the brother, whose thoughts, feelings and interests were my own. That has all gone by. I am now nothing but a poor creature standing on the verge of destruction. I am come, therefore, to make a last plea for my life — for it is my life I am about to ask of you: and I have only to show you how you can save me, and then to leave my fate In your hands.

The two notes upon which the accusation against me is founded, have been provided for as follows: the one in New York by an assignment of my wife’s copyright of her book, the “Ins and Outs of Paris,” of which I enclose the announcement,) the publisher having assured the negotiator of the New York note, of the validity of the security for the amount of the claim. For the $140 claim against me here, I have assigned the copyright of my “Philadelphia by Gas-Light,” which abundantly covers it.

And now for my request. I can get bail, and leave my prison, for $200 — not for a dollar less. Will you help me?” Yours,

G. G. Foster.

Dr. T: Dunn English writes me that Griswold’s efforts in behalf of Foster were successful. He died 16 April 1856.


May 27th [1866.] Mrs. Hamilton’s compliments to Mr. Griswold and requests him, if agreeable, to get from the person the statement that was made respecting the opening of General Hamilton’s drawers and examining his papers [;] also the names of the persons who employed him. This communication is for myself, not for the newspapers, so that he may not have any scruples. With great regard,

Eliz’th Hamilton.

[page 299:]

Excuse the writing for I am near ninety. Direct to Mrs. General Hamilton near Dobbe’ Ferry.


Portsmouth, N. H., Dec. 8, 1855.

My dear Sir . . .

I am sorry to say that it is out of my power to offer anything like an adequate compensation for such an article as you would furnish. My publishers pay my contributors at the rate of one dollar per page of original matter. Were I deriving any actual income from the review, I should add for articles such as you propose something approaching a quantum meruit; but my arrangements are such that, though with the hope of ultimate profit, debt and embarrassment are my only editorial revenue for the present. I am, my dear Sir, Very sincerely yours,

A. P. Peabody.


Boston, Mass., June 8, 1855.

My Dear Sir . . .

Let .me take this opportunity to remind you that one of the poems which you have published as mine, beginning “It touched the earth” was written by a person of far greater poetic power — the late Mrs. Dr. Hooper of this city — a lady whose verses, if they could be printed, would be seen to equal in their peculiar beauty almost anything we have from woman’s pen. Very truly yours,

Jas. Freeman Clarke.


Riverside, 31 July, 1865.

Dear Dr. Griswold:

Sir Walter Scott used to say that the happiest moment of his life was when he put his feet under his son’s “mahogany;” I think I am happier in sending you some of Willie’s verses. He has it in him. But he is hard at pastoral work, and does not cultivate that gift.

Your faithful friend,
G. W. Doane.


Mayor’s Office, Philadelphia, Aug. 4, 1865.

My dear Doctor —

do not believe me so seriously in default as I seem to be. Unable, from my official engagements, to hunt up the No. of Graham that we are in quest of, I have set not less than half dozen of my men — a strange police duty! — in search of it. Their reports give evidence of what lawyers [page 300:] call a “due and diligent search,” but I have not yet secured it. I have, however, ascertained positively that I will be able to send it to you on Monday. . .

I have been strangely unfortunate in my sincere wish to show you some attention while in the City. My family at our Country place, my house dosed, and myself a sort of official vagabond, living as best I may, I have not been able to extend to you the hospitality which my feelings so sincerely prompt. Ton will, I am sure, appreciate these unfortunate disabilities, and “bide your time.”. . .

Very truly yours,
R. T. Conrad.


Philadelphia, Nov. 8, 1865.

R. W. Griswold, Dear Sir,

I was surprised in looking over your last edition of the “Poets and Poetry of America,” to find my name, which had been noticed in a former edition, entirely excluded from this.

Of this omission I suppose I have no right to complain, as I did not ask you for a niche in your “Temple of Fame,” though if my memory serves me, I handed you a volume of my poems.

Perhaps I have been too modest. I certainly never begged the honor, or claimed it as a right: and yet I feel that an Author who has been favorably noticed by the press, both in England and America; some of whose poems have become as familiar as Household words, and may be found in the school Books of both countries; and in almost every catalogue of music, deserved that much consideration at the hands of an American in the land that gave him birth.

As you are doubtless aware of the popularity of some of my poems, will you be kind enough to inform me why I have been treated with apparent neglect, as I am not conscious of having ever wronged you in thought, word or deed.

Very Respectfully,
David Bates.


Boston, November 12, 1855.

Dear Rufus. . .

I have only today learned the real reason why my notice has not appeared in the Transcript. It seems the Correspondent of the Transcript itself is an American Poet who does not like your notice of him and so Haskell has been instructed by him to be chary of praise in noticing the new Ed. I told H. today what I thought of the matter and he is now considering; [page 301:] whether he will print my notice or no. I dare say if he doe8 he will add something of his own which neither you or I will like. At any rate Haskell knows he will offend me if he says aught disparaging to you.

In haste, Yours always, J. T. F[ields].


Office Evening Bulletin, [Philadelphia] Monday, Nov. 26, 1855.

Dear Sir —

I am right down vexed at your letter — real grieved. I can not help admitting the justice and truth of your remarks, and as you know better than I how these things work, have very poutingly done as you requested. The fact is that I never thought of anything but of trying to show as well as I could my thankfulness for the great kindness which you have shown me not only in “Meister Karl” but in a great many other things. And I mentioned in the dedication that you had been the first to notice it and the first to recommend it, because I thought that it would look as if I had some gratitude, and also I must admit because I thought that if the public could see that you had taken such an interest in It, it would help it along. I suppose it’s all right, but for all that I wish that the public or “folks” would see things as I mean them. For I meant the dedication kindly and I worded it so as to show that I had an appreciation of what you had done for the book; and finally I don’t believe that anybody who knows me will accuse me of any but “straight out” motives, and finally I don’t believe that anybody but those who know me personally will buy the book any way. I don’t believe it’s going to have such a h — l of a sale (begging your pardon) — particularly since you’ve knocked that dedication out of it, which was one of the main pillars. It’s some comfort anyhow to know that the only way of getting it out is to tear it out, for I am cock-sure that the whole edition is printed by now. That’ll bother somebody, and make them swear. As for dedicating it to anybody else it shan’t be done. Nobody ever did so much for it, and if it cant be dedicated to you why a blank silence must express my ideas. . . If, on mature deliberation, you have come to the conclusion that Meister EarPs Book is a little too rowdy and slangy, you needn’t be afraid to say so. It was for that reason that my brother has frequently begged me not to put my own name to it. I’ll bet a hat that if we were in conversation you would own that to be the true reason, and that on mature reflection you have become terrified at hearing such a profane affair nailed to your name. . .

Yours very truly,
C. G. Leland.

[page 302:]

Bangor, Dec 22, 1856.

Dear Fields:

I did not suspect, when reading the Traveller’s paragraph about Hiawatha, that it was to produce any serious consequences to myself. You have however seen the Tribune’s brutal attack upon me, in an article on the controversies educed by the great epic. Nothing more groundless, more entirely unprovoked, ever appeared in print. I do not know — I never saw — Mason and Brothers; and I have no recollection of ever having seen Mr. Underwood, though it is possible that I have at some time been introduced to him when calling at Phillips and Sampson’s. I never expressed or felt any dissatisfaction at Ripley’s notices of my own books; I have never accused him of venality; and though I have regarded his connections with Harpers, Derby, etc., as in some sort a disqualification for his office in the Tribune, I have never said so except as I have assented, now and then to observations on the subject by other parties. I believed Ripley was friendly to me, as I was to him and never was more astounded than by his wanton and malevolent libel. . .

R. W. G.


New York, Dec 23rd, ‘56.

My dear Friend:

Though I have always yet failed to interest you personally when here, and surrounded by friends, yet in your now comparative exile I have sometimes thought that you might send “a wish or a thought after me,” and remembering my feelings, even welcome a letter if not too tedious; and upon this supposition I have acted tonight. The weather is so warm here that I am now sitting without fire, and it has scarcely been colder yet. Alice and Elmira, who are both well, have gone out, and my beau (of course I wish you to think I have one) has not yet come, so I am “alone in my glory,” and should much better like to have you here than be using this miserable apology for talking. . .

Of course you have heard of Osgood’s [F. S. Osgood, the husband of the poet] marriage. Do you know the age of the lady? You have doubtless seen more of the quarreling between the editors and publishers than I have, and the very unfair manner in which you were treated in the Tribune. I expect you let “your angry passions rise.” Did you see the criticism on Duganne in the last Putnam, and the various opinions of Hiawatha? . . .

Your friend always,
Phœbe Cary.

[page 303:]

During Thackeray’s second visit to this country occurred an incident which has been written about to an extent oat of all proportion to its importance. Mr. J: H. Ingram thus describes it: “Thackeray, having proved him a liar, told him so publicly, and would not touch his proffered hand; while Dickens convicted him of fraad, and made his employers pay for it.”

Mr. Ingram’s statement, as regards Dickens, appears to have been founded on an anecdote told by G: P. Putnam to this effect: an agent was sent to secure for “The International Magazine” advance sheets of a novel by Dickens. The Harpers also sent an agent, and their man, understanding his business better, went to the author, while his rival wasted time in trying to negotiate through his publishers. The result of the failure of the “International” people was that their magazine was stopped.

Mr. R. B. Kimball (in The Brooklyn Magazine, Oct. 1884), narrates the Thackeray anecdote more in detail: “While I was enjoying a conversation with Thackeray . . . at the Putnam reception, in company with several ladies and gentlemen, the conversation touching mainly upon the merits of American and English literature . . . Mr. Putnam advanced, bringing Doctor Griswold with him, whom he introduced to Thackeray. The great English novelist, after acknowledging the introduction with a certain degree of courtesy, drew himself up to his full height, and, with an air of self -consciousness, exclaimed: ‘Doctor Griswold, I am told that you say I am a snob. Tell me, Do I look like a snob?’ Not in the least discomposed. Doctor Griswold looked his querist full in the face and replied in his low, quiet tone: ‘Mr. Thackeray, I have not as yet printed my opinion of you.’ This little passage had the effect of materially subsiding the conversation into which we had entered, presently becoming only moderately agreeable, and we all, I think, felt relieved when it was brought to a close. I confess the incident left its disagreeable opinion of Thackeray in my mind — so far as a certain self-assumption and conceit [page 304:] were concerned — which a further acquaintance with him upon subsequent occasions did not serve to remove.”

Thackeray was a shining light, and Mr. Griswold, in comparison, but a tallo-dip, but in respect to good manners there was not a corresponding difference. This fact strikes one in Mr. Putnam’s version (in Putnam’s Magazine, Dec. 1869), of the scene more than in Mr. Kimball’s: “At one of the little gatherings of bookmen, editors and artists at my house, Mr. Thackeray was talking with a lady when Dr. Rufus W. Griswold came up and asked me to introduce him, which of coarse was done. Thackeray bowed slightly, and went on talking to the lady. Presently, the Doctor having slipped away for the moment, the novelist said to me, inquiringly, “That’s Rufus, is it?” “Yes, that’s he.” “He’s been abusing me in the Herald,” pursued the satirist. “I’ve a mind to charge him with it.” “By all means,” I replied, “if you are sure he did it.” “Positive.” So he stalked across to the corner where Griswold stood, and I observed him looking down from his six-foot elevation on to the Doctor’s bald head and glaring at him in half-earnest anger through his glasses, while he pummeled him with his charge of the Herald articles. The Doctor, after a while, escaping, quoted him thus: “Thackeray came and said to me, Doctor, you’ve been writing ugly things about me in the Herald, — you called me a snob; do I look like a SNOB? and he drew himself up and looked thunder-gusts at me.”


Boston, Jan’y 26, 1856.

Dr. Griswold, Dear Sir:

Permit me to recal to your remembrance oar brief , but very pleasant acquaintance some twenty years since in Calais, Maine. I was then in the prime of life, and yon a boy. We have changed positions. I am in my second childhood — or near it, and have watched your steady and firm growth expand till the whole nation takes note of it. “Kon eqaidem invideo, miror magis.”

I have written a book called Wolfsden, and requested the Publishers to send you a copy. If it has merit, your friendly judgment will do it more [page 305:] than justice. If it has none, you will receive it not the less kindly as an expression of the continued respect and good will of an old friend — who would have done better if he could.

I shall be particularly pleased with a line of recognition from you. My residence is at Oakdale, Mass., though I spend the winter in Boston.

Yours truly,
Daniel Mann.


Philadelphia, Feb. 7, 1856.

Dear Sir . . .

The prose works of the late Judge Henry St. George Tucker are 1. Commentaries on the Laws of Virginia, 2 vols. 2. Lectures on Natural Law, 12 mo. Besides numerous essays in the Journals and Periodicals of the day.’

Beverley Tucker, his brother, wrote: 1. George Balcombe, a novel, 2 vols. 2. The Partisan Leader, a novel. 8. A Treatise on the Constitution of the U. S.

The works of G. Tucker: 1. Essays by a Citizen of Virginia on subjects of morals and national topics [?] 1822. 2. The Valley of Shenandoah. Hastily written in two months while riding from court to court in Virginia, 1834. 8. Voyage to the Moon, 1827. 4. Life of Jefferson, 1837. 5. Progress of the United States, 1848. Besides numerous contributions to periodicals in England and the U. S.

Both H. S. G. Tucker and his brother Beverley were Judges and both natives of Virginia. . . I am very respectfully yours,

George Tucker.


Baltimore, Feb. 10, 1856.

My dear Sir . . .

The book [‘The Partisan Leader’] is not at all like Upshur, who, though an abstractionist of the straitest sect, was of too temperate and mild a constitution for such a dreary prophecy. . . With kind regards,

Very Truly,
J. P. Kennedy.


Feb. 18, 1856.

My dear Griswold:

I have read your review of the [Duyckinck] Cyclopedia with great interest, and admiration of your industry, extensive knowledge, and energy of style. It would be a great loss to our literature, and a great piece [page 306:] of injustice to yourself to permit such a performance to perish in the columns of an ephemeral publication. By all means pat it into book form. It will be well received, and find a permanent place in our repertoire of learning, which else will never know it. Put it at once in the printer’s hands. I only regret that you could not let me use it in the Times.

Most truly yours,
C. F. Briggs.


February 21st, 1856.

Dear Griswold: . . .

I saw your notice of the Encyclopedia in the Herald and I never saw a more complete end made of anything. The fires of the last day could not hare made a cleaner work of destruction. Many have read it and admit its incomparable ability and pure justice. It was known to be yours, because known no other one could write it. It ought to be reduced to form for a class book on Style, History, and Literature. My wife has presented it for reference in such like matters. If I was the author of the book I should want to get into so little a place that no one could find me, or put my eyes out, so that I could see no one. So much to be said justly of a book, and yet that book generally praised by the editors of our papers!!! . . .

Your friend truly,
H. Hooker.


New York, March 28, 1856.

My dear Doctor . . .

I congratulate you upon the termination of the ‘proceedings’ to which you refer. They, however, have not changed my opinions in any respect, as you seem to more than insinuate in the note before me I . . .

[H. B.] Wallace has paid you a deserved and a delicate compliment in the extract I have taken from his book, and it will shine upon you like a star, when all the slanders that have assailed you have perished with their authors and have been forgotten. . .

I remain, my dear Doctor, yours very truly,

Geo. P. Morris.


Philadelphia, Nov. 22, ‘56.

My dear Dr. Griswold . . .

We hope you may change your mind and write us a great book, one that will make a fortune for you. We expect to pay Dr. Kane $60,000 [page 307:] on the first of January. We have offered Mr. Allibone $10,000 for his copyright. We have 7,000 copies already ordered. Our first edition will be 10,000. With high esteem, Truly your obliged friend,

George W. Childs.


Boston, Jan. 26, 1857.

My dear Griswold,

I should have written you long ago, to ask after your health, but during several months past, I have had a lame hand, which is still disabled. Pray let me hear from you. It is an age since I was in New York, and I get no account of you from any friend. No one thinks of you with more friendly interest than your ancient and very sincere correspondent and well wisher,

J. T. Fields.


March 30th, ’57.

Dear Doctor.

It was with the sincerest grief that I heard from Messrs. Dinsmore and Bean, as they passed through Philadelphia, that your health was so very low. When I wrote you I had in ftujt no idea how sick you were and I have since been grieved to think that you might possibly have found in my letter something which seemed like out of time levity.

Dear Sir, I trust from my very heart and soul that this will find you relieved or perhaps better. I wish that I could visit New York and see you. You have, I know, many friends eager to aid you but I would gladly go on anyhow if I thought that I could be of service to you. You have however such miraculous vitality and have weathered so many severe attacks that I continue to hope that with the warm weather you will be found going about, all right or nearly so.

Possibly there may be something I could do for you in the literary way, or in Graham. Perhaps you will only smile at the request but I am so accustomed to make such offers and you have so often gratified me by giving me some opportunity to oblige you that I cannot help doing it now. . .

Graham’s Magazine is getting on — slowly, very — but still advancing. I would like to be able to give all my time to it. I have found out that by editing such an affair conscientiously and properly one can do a great deal towards improving the tone and quality of popular writing — that a literary editor can in fact do as much as several schoolmasters, so far as teaching the art of writing is concerned. It is really a matter of regret to see that so [page 308:] many editors seem to care to little for this, or in fact for anything but themselves. Dear Doctor, I mutt conclude. I fear that you are too weak to answer this, but I will write again when an opportunity of my sadly busy life occurs. With sincerest and best regards, hoping that you will soon be better, I remain

Yours most respectfully,
Charles G. Leland.

Dr. Griswold died 27th August 1857. The event was thus chronicled by Mr. Leland in Graham’s Magazine:

“To the reader of oar magazine his death is a matter of interest, since it was under his care and direction that it first achieved a high literary tone and rank and acquired authority. To us individually, the loss is that of one of our nearest and dearest friends. . . . Few persons ever possessed warmer, more enthusiastic or more steadily devoted friends; and amid the many trials, changes and darker days to which the life of the purely literary man is so liable, Dr. Griswold never wanted those who proved themselves most truly attached to him. As a friend, no man ever exerted himself more than Dr. Griswold, and it may be said with the utmost truthfulness that of the many literary passages of arms in which he was engaged, a striking proportion were inspired by a chivalrous and almost incredible spirit of devotion to the interests of others. When he thought it possible to aid a friend he would spare no exertion, and would do everything in the most unselfish and noble spirit. The writer has had frequent and personal proof of this, during the course of an intimacy of years, and can testify to the remarkable earnestness with which Dr. Griswold was wont to exert himself in benefiting a friend.

Few men ever lived who, to so truly kind a heart, to ease of manner, conversational ability, and genial humor . . . added such varied learning.”



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 286:]

*  Copyright, 1894, by J. P. Walker, as part of contents of Cosmopolitan Magazine for Oct. 1894.







[S:0 - WMG, 1898] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Passages from the Correspondence and Other Papers of Rufus W. Griswold [Section 06] (W. M. Griswold, 1898)