Skip to main content

Alfred Janson Bloor to Walt Whitman, 22 and 25 May 1882

 loc_jp.00011_large.jpg Dear Sir—

I see by the Tribune of to-day that (by the hands of one of your "never dying audacious elected men"—is not that what you call them?) you have received another blow from the ignorance & hypocrisy prevailing in our civilization on the subjects treated in your "Leaves of Grass"—a civilization which nevertheless, one generation after another, confirms Rabelais as a classic, and swallows the Song of Solomon as Holy Scripture, instead of simply classing it with the beautiful lays of Anacreon & Swinburne and with the necessary text, more or less, of all great literatures, none of which can possibly ignore an exhaustive survey of life and all its functions. And that this blow is going to deprive you of what might be and ought to be a sufficient source of comfortable income to you in your declining years.

I have little time at present for correspondence outside of what is compelled by routine duties, but if you will put me in communication with some one of your friends good for such work, I  loc_jp.00014_large.jpg  loc_jp.00012_large.jpg will ask him to start a subscription for you, and will send him (or yourself directly if you prefer) twenty-five dollars, in the hope that some few at least of appreciative men of means may subscribe those figures with a cipher or two after them. Our big Masonic temple here, with perhaps a million dollars worth of material & labor sunk in it, was built from a subscription started by a poor man with an offering of one dollar.

I remember a buffet given you in former years by one of the Cabinet Secretaries in whose Department you had been placed, and I suppose you, like all men & women—poets or other—ahead of their time, have been well used to such, but, if a subscription were started in your behalf, it would, I think, be found that your "Leaves of Grass" have made friends for you, who would be glad to draw sympathy for you and substantially forestall the unavailing gratitude (so far as Walt Whitman in the flesh is concerned) of posterity.

Yours always respectfully & truly A. J. Bloor Mr. Walt Whitman

My name is not for publication, though if my subscription were for five thousand dollars, it might be well to give you the benefit of it.

AJ Bloor  loc_jp.00013_large.jpg

I wrote the within on Monday after reading a telegram about you in the Tribune, but I did not note your address & was waiting for it when Mr O'Connor's letter in to-day's Tribune induced me to revert to its files to see whether your address had been mentioned. I find it is still Camden.

You perhaps remember calling on me 3 or 4 years ago, when I lent you my diary of the war days from which to make excerpts about Lincoln.

If you are in present straits, I will enclose you my little offering at once without waiting for a formal subscription.

A.J.B.  loc_jp.00016_large.jpg
Back to top