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Walt Whitman to General James Grant Wilson, 8 December 1886

Dear Gen: Wilson

I have been quite unwell, or I should have ans'd you sooner. Yours of Nov. 26th, with check for Twenty Dollars, ($20) (herewith returned) was duly rec'd—Thank you most fervently, my friend—But I don't feel at all like writing a notice or biography of Halleck1—(nor indeed capacitated for it)—I met H. once in Park Place, N. Y. & remember his looks & talk—but I dont think I can write ab't him—Thank you & the Messrs: Appleton—Please send me word of the rec't of this—

Walt Whitman

General James Grant Wilson (see the letter from Whitman to Wilson of May 21, 1879) was the author of Bryant and His Friends (1886). In 1888 Whitman said: "I knew Wilson very well—he was a cordial and convincing character. . . . Wilson belongs to the conventional literary old guard in New York" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Monday, August 13, 1888). On April 8, 1887, Wilson invited the poet to stay with him during his New York visit.


  • 1. General Henry Wager Halleck (1815–1872) was Grant's chief of staff. This was apparently not the type of "pot-boiler" Whitman was willing to write. [back]
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