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Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 27 September 1867

My dear friend,

Your letter, & the two accompanying, came safe. I saw F. P. Church again yesterday—the arrangement is, that Democracy is to make an article of fifteen or sixteen pages, & is [to] be the leading article of the December number—it must be in his hands by the 25th of October. The Ethiopia Commenting2 has been formally accepted, but is held back until the long article appears. I have felt that the Galaxy folks have received & treated me with welcome warmth & respect. F. P. Church is a sample of a New Yorker, a club man, (he pressingly invited me to a dinner at Atheneum Club—I declined,) young, cordial, refined, &c. He made no very decided impression on me, however—we will see how the acquaintance works & holds out in the future. The indirect & inferential of his tone & words in speaking to me would have satisfied your highest requirements—they evidently meant that in his opinion I was, or was soon to be, "one of the great powers."

Nothing new among my folks, or domestic matters. I have been purchasing property, or rather becoming responsible for the same3

William, you needn't send any more of my letters to me here, after you receive this—keep them for me. I shall return within three or four days—I shall write out & finish Democracy there, as my leave extends two weeks yet. I suppose you rec'd the Gazette, containing T. Titcomb,4 his opinion on such books as Leaves of Grass, etc.

I think it very likely I shall return on Monday 30th. I have seen Fred. Gray, Nathaniel Bloom5—the dear, good, affectionate young men—more kind, more affectionate than ever.

William, I do hope, it will come to you to buckle-to, & write something for Putnam—et al. You are talked about, & cause expectancies, curiosities, &c.—F. P. Church sent a florid & evidently genuine message to you by me—the meat of it is, a fervid appreciation of your literary genius, & a special request that you write for the Galaxy.6 John Burroughs, I send you my love, & will soon be with you all again—



  • 1. This letter's envelope bears the address, "William D. O'Connor, | Light House Board, | Treasury Department, | Washington, | D.C." It is postmarked: "New York | Sep | 27; Carrier | Sep | 28 | 1 Del." [back]
  • 2. This poem, sent by Walt Whitman with his September 7, 1867 letter to William Conant Church and Francis Pharcellus Church was never published in the Galaxy. It later became "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors"; see Edward F. Grier, "Walt Whitman, the Galaxy, and Democratic Vistas," American Literature, 23 (1951–1952), 337. Whitman withdrew the poem in his November 2, 1868 letter to Francis Church. [back]
  • 3. One of the objects of Walt Whitman's Brooklyn visit was to arrange for the construction of a house for the family. [back]
  • 4. Timothy Titcomb was the pseudonym of Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819–1881), who was an editor of the Springfield Republican from 1850 to 1862, and author of Titcomb's Letters to Young People, Simple and Married (1858). While Titcomb was editor of Scribner's Monthly (1870–1881), Whitman submitted poems to him; see Whitman's December 12, 1875 letter to Josiah Gilbert Holland. [back]
  • 5. Walt Whitman wrote to Gray and Bloom on March 19–20, 1863. [back]
  • 6. The Galaxy published O'Connor's "The Ballad of Sir Ball" in March of 1868; see Whitman's May 18, 1868, letter to Messrs. Sheldon and Company. [back]
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