October 28, 1863
I have taken your proposition into consideration.
There is a lion in the way—$
I could easily publish a small Book, but the one you propose—to stereotype, advertise and push it—implies an expenditure that may be beyond my means. But if I can get credit, I may try. Whether I will or no depends somewhat on the printer's notions as to whether the book would sell.
Suppose you finish it and send it on: if I can't publish it, I will see if some other person won't.
This is the best I can safely promise you. If I can get one or two jobbers to read and like it, and they will make an advance order, or give a favorable trade opinion, the way is clear.
The text presented here is derived from Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (various publishers, 1906–96). For a detailed description of discrepancies between this electronic edition and the print source, see our statement of editorial policy.
The location of the original manuscript is unknown.
1. Whitman wrote to James Redpath on October 21, 1863, with a detailed proposal for a book he proposed to call Memoranda of a Year. Redpath (1833–1891) was the author of The Public Life of Capt. John Brown (Boston: Thayer and Eldridge, 1860), a correspondent for the New York Tribune during the war, the originator of the "Lyceum" lectures, and editor of the North American Review in 1886. He met Whitman in Boston in 1860 (Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #90), and remained an enthusiastic admirer; see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, ed. Sculley Bradley (New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1914), 3:459–461. He concluded his first letter to Whitman on June 25, 1860: "I love you, Walt! A conquering Brigade will ere long march to the music of your barbaric jawp." See also Charles F. Horner, The Life of James Redpath and the Development of the Modern Lyceum (New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1926). (Back)