Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Cassius M. Clay to Walt Whitman, 9 July 1887

Date: July 9, 1887

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01297

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "Whitehall, Ky 7-12-87," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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White Hall, Ky.1

My dear Mr. Whitman,

Yours of the—containing the two books sent me—is reed.2

I have only glanced at them—& am delighted with your natural & robust style—and treatment of its great subjects men & nature.

I reserve to myself a more leisure time for careful reading of your present.

I enclose my address at Yale University delivered before the Alumni & whole College3. As but 15 minutes were allowed, I have barely been able to state my views without discussion. So much the better perhaps—as our national failing is more talk than thought.

I have but the moment to return you my thanks—I wish you all happiness.

C. M. Clay

Walt Whitman Esq.
N. Jersey &c.

Cassius Marcellus Clay (1810–1903), often referred to as "Lion of the White Hall," was an abolitionist and a politician from Kentucky. In the early 1860s, he was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to serve as the United States minister to Russia.


1. This letter is addressed: Walt Whitman Esq. | Camden: | New Jersey: | U. S. A. It is postmarked: [illegible] | JUL | 14 | 6AM | [illegible]. The envelope also includes the following return address: C [illegible], Clay: White Hall, Ky. [back]

2. Whitman had sent Clay the London editon of Specimen Days. What other book Clay is referring to is unclear. [back]

3. Clay's address to Yale University alumni was delivered on June 28, 1887, and published in the New York Times on June 29, 1887; the address concerned the Prohibition, Labor, and Woman Suffrage Parties, with Clay supporting temperance but rejecting laws governing temperance, supporting labor but rejecting socialism, and rejecting women's suffrage as detrimental to the family structure. [back]


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