Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William D. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 18 September 1883

Date: September 18, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: syr.00027

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library, Syracuse, N.Y. 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, "see notes March 21 1889," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Washington D.C.,
September 18, 1883.

Dear Walt:

I have your postal card of the 17th, and enclose the article from the Nation—an infamous article. I would give a great deal to know who is the writer. Is it not possible to find this out?

You mention it as in the N.Y. Evening Post, of which the Nation is a weekly issue, though without containing all its matter. So I am not sure that this libel was in both papers.

I also enclose a press copy of my reply, and of the note I subsequently addressed with the MS to the Times. Montgomery wrote me a very kind note, saying that the Times editor wouldn't print my article for "professional reasons"—which simply means, I suppose, that dog will not eat dog, or that one member of the journalistic condottieri will stand by another in his iniquity.

When I read the article over just now, it seemed a little better than I at first thought it. I was quite ill and weighed down with lassitude when I wrote it,—spurred only by my indignation. Upon its return from the Times, I had a vague wandering notion of sending it to the Critic, as my blue pencil memorandum on the first sheet indicates. But I suppose it is no use. I felt rather deterred by the remembrance of Gilder's unfriendly spat at me when I was fighting that contemptible clergyman, Chadwick, and was so clearly in the right. I had thought of him previously as a friend of yours.

I also enclose a slip from the Nation which shows Dr. William Hand Browne in the noble and honorable light of trying to edit out of poor Lanier's silly lectures, the little praise he had bestowed on you—an effort baffled only by the right instincts of the poet's widow. What a lot of helldevils the literati are, to be sure!

Send me back the slips sometime.

I am glad you saw Marvin. He is the best of friends, and is firm in the faith.

I hope to get away for a few days soon. I am still in charge of the office, and much burdened. More anon. I got your curious Shakespeare letter. Is he crazy? Au revoir.



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