Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Byron Sutherland, 4 April 1870

Date: April 4, 1870

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:95. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The location of the original manuscript is unknown.

Whitman Archive ID: med.00406

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




Attorney General's Office,
Washington.
April 4, 18701

Dear young man:2

Your affectionate letter of March 30 has reached me, and has given me much comfort—for our acquaintance in this city at the last of the war, & our being with each other so closely those two or three days & nights before you went away, have left a loving remembrance of you which will never be effaced. I am well as usual—still work in this office—still board at the same house in M Street—& I suppose hold my own generally about the same as when we were together—I suppose you have progressed a good deal & I want to hear all about it—everything about you & your fortunes will be interesting—& the sight of you, dear friend, & to have you with me again, would be more welcome than all. I will not write a long letter this time—but send you my love—& charge you to write more regularly in future.


Walt Whitman


Notes:

1. Transcript. [back]

2. Walt Whitman began his correspondence with soldier Byron Sutherland on August 26, 1865.

Sutherland was now teaching at Jamestown, N. Y. In reply to Walt Whitman's request for further information about his life, the former soldier observed on April 8, 1870: "You remember me in 1865 a green vain (?) lad of Eighteen—without, even, an imperfect knowledge of the rudimentary English branches, I came home from Washington and applied myself, as soon as possible, to school and to study…My life since we parted that July day upon the Treasury steps, has been one of hard work and little recreation—I find on looking back to that time, that I am not so pure or trusting—that the world isnt quite so fair and beautiful as it seemed then—That the world is not precisely a green pasture for unsophistocated human lambs to skip in—That I like dreaming less, and work or excitement better—That I have lost a great deal of Ambition, and gained a like quantity of stupidity—That I dont know nearly so much as I once supposed I did." [back]


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