Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe... In Baltimore and Beyond



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Poe's Baltimore Letters
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Random Raven

A letter Poe sent John Kennedy, asking for his help in getting a manuscript published

[Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Pendleton Kennedy, @ November 19, 1834.]

Balto: Nov. 1834.
Dr Sir,

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

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

Edgar Allan Poe

Jno. P. Kennedy Esqr

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