Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: John Burroughs to Walt Whitman, 28 November 1880

Date: November 28, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01136

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman and Nicole Gray

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Esopus N.Y.
Nov 28, 1880.

Dear Walt:

I am greatly surprised at the course Worthington has taken. He is a rascal & should be punished. I see no course to take but to commence proceedings against him at once. If you desire it I will see a lawyer & have the necessary papers drawn up. It would be better to sue him in Camden & bring him there. I dare say that if a summary were served upon him he would be brought to his senses I don't know whether he could be proceeded against criminally. Why not ask your friend in Camden who defended Hunter, I forget his name. Or write to Ashton & get his opinion on the whole matter. Either of them will no doubt gladly give you their opinion free. If I ask a lawyer here I should expect to fee him. I will undertake to raise some money to put the matter through & will put down $50 myself. I think I could raise some in Boston, through J.T. Fields. I do not want to go to Worthington & ask for an explanation, or have any one else go, I want to slap a summary upon him at once. I can have the complaint made out for you to swear to & sign, & then when he puts in his answer we can see what defense he sets up. In the meantime while suit is pending an injunction can be served upon Worthington on stopping him from printing & selling the book. That could be done in a few days. An order would have to be obtained of the court in N.Y. compelling him to stop or show cause why he should not be stopped.

Write me explicitly what you would have me do & I will do it. Don't be afraid of the trouble in the cost of legal proceedings, your friends will see to that. If you do not want to write to Ashton or contact a lawyer in Camden, then I will do it here.

Faithfully Yours
John Burroughs

P.S. I saw a lot of those books at Legget Brothers Bookstore last summer or spring & I was told either there or at Worthington's that they were some of the Thayer & Eldridge stock bound up. I forgot who told me.


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