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Richard J. Hinton to Walt Whitman, 30 May 1889

 loc_jm.00207.jpg My Dear Walt—

Let me send my hand & heart to you in this pen-scrawl, bearing loving, reverential, congratulations to you on yr 70th birthday. I'm so glad you are still here in your familiar form: the other Walt the "Comrade of all" will be  loc_zs.00187.jpg among us always. Accept then my love, my hopes of other birthdays, my fraternal & gladsome kiss and word on this birthday

I would have liked to have been at the dinner,1 but as I did not know of it till within two days, having had no word or "invite" I could  loc_zs.00188.jpg not arrange. However I offer you my congratulations.

Fraternally & Faithfully yours "Dick" (RJ) Hinton My wife joins me fully.  loc_jm.00208.jpg

Richard J. Hinton (1830–1901) was born in London and came to the United States in 1851. He trained as a printer, and, like James Redpath (with whom Whitman corresponded on August 6, 1863), went to Kansas and joined John Brown's militant group of abolitionists. In fact, but for an accident he would have been with Brown at Harper's Ferry. A man mistaken for Hinton was hanged. With Redpath, Hinton was the author of Hand-book to Kansas Territory and the Rocky Mountains' Gold Region (1859). Later he wrote Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas (1865) and John Brown and His Men (1894). Apparently Hinton had suggested that Thayer & Eldridge print Leaves of Grass; see the New Voice, 16 (4 February 1899), 2. Hinton served in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865, and saw Whitman while lying wounded in a hospital, a scene which he described in the Cincinnati Commercial on August 26, 1871. After the war Hinton wrote for many newspapers. He defended William D. O'Connor's The Good Gray Poet in the Milwaukee Sentinel on February 9, 1866. Hinton's article in the Rochester Evening Express on March 7, 1868, was a lengthy account of Whitman's "Fame and Fortunes in England and America," with quotations from O'Connor and the naturalist John Burroughs. Obviously pleased, Whitman sent it to friends, including Rossetti, who acknowledged it on April 12, 1868. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, September 28, 1888; William Sloane Kennedy, The Fight of a Book for the World (West Yarmouth, MA: Stonecroft Press, 1926), 19, 67, 110–111, 242; the Boston Transcript, December 21, 1901.


  • 1. For Whitman's seventieth birthday, Horace Traubel and a large committee planned a local celebration for the poet in Morgan's Hall in Camden, New Jersey. The committee included Henry (Harry) L. Bonsall, Geoffrey Buckwalter, and Thomas B. Harned. See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, May 7, 1889. The day was celebrated with a testimonial dinner. Numerous authors and friends of the poet prepared and delivered addresses to mark the occasion. Whitman, who did not feel well at the time, arrived after the dinner to listen to the remarks. [back]
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