From Family Correspondence of Herman Melville

Unedited Selections - (contains both spelling and scanning errors)

19 MARCH 1846

Lansingburgh March 19. 1846

My Dear Sir--Herewith you have one of the first bound copies of "Typee" I have been able to procure.--The dedication is very simple, for the world would hardly have sympathised to the full extent of those feelings with which I regard my father's friend and the constant friend of all his family.

I hope that the perusal of this little narrative of mine will afford you some entertainment. Even if it should not possess much other merit your knowing the author so well, will impart some interest to it.

--I intended to have sent at the same time with this, copies of "Typee" for each of my aunts--but have [been] disappointed in receiving as many as I expected.--I mention, however, in the accompanying letter to my Aunt Priscilla that they shall soon be fortheoming.

Remember me most warmly to Mrs Shaw & Miss Elizabeth, & to all your family, & tell them I shall not soon forget that agreeable visit to Boston.

With sincere respect, Judge Shaw,

I remain gratefully and truly Yours

Herman Melville

Chief Justice Shaw, Boston.

7 MAY 1846

Lansingburgh May 7, 1846

Gentlemen--Herewith you have a corrected copy of Typee. Besides correcting mere typographical errors, I have made two or three slight alterations.

--I do not know exactly to what extent you can, without incurring much expence, alter the plates--But I hope that you will see, that all my alterations are attended to, except such as would be attended with any considerable trouble or expence. Of course, all the mere verbal corrections can be easily made.

I remain, Gentlemen, respectfully

Your Obt Sevt

Herman Melville Mess Wiley & Putnam Broadway

29 MAY 1846

Lansingburgh Friday, June 29th 1846

My Dear Gansevoort--I look forward to three weeks from now, & think I see you openning this letter in [one] of those pleasant hamlets roundabout London, of which we read in novels. At any rate I pray Heaven that such may be the case & that you are mending rapidly. Remember that composure of mind is every thing. You should give no thought to matters here, until you are well enough to think about them. As far as I know they are in good train.

Mr Boyd's second letter announcing your still continued illness was a sad disappointment to us. Yet he seemed to think, that after all you were in a fair way for recovery--& that a removal to the country (then it appears intended shortly) would be attended with the happiest effects. I can not but think it must be;--& I look for good tidings by the next arrival.--Many anxious enquiries have been made after you by numerous friends here.--

The family here are quite well--tho' very busy dressmaking. Augusta is one of the bridesmaids to Miss C. Van. R. & her preperations are now forwarding.

People here are all in a state of delirium about the Mexican War. A military ardor pervades all ranks--Militia Colonels wax red in their coat facings--and 'prentice boys are running off to the wars by scores.--Nothing is talked of but the "Halls of the Montezumas" And to llear folks prate about those purely figurative apartments one would suppose that they were another Versailles where our democratic rabble meant to "make a night of it" ere long.--The redoubtable General Veile "went off" in a violant war paraoxysm to Washington the other day. His object is to get a commission for raising volunteers about here & taking the feild at their head next fall.--But seriously something great is impending. The Mexican War (tho' our troops have behaved right well) is nothing of itself--but "a little spark kindleth a great fire" as the well known author of the Proverbs very justly remarks --and who knows what all this may lead to--Will it breed a rupture with England? Or any other great powers?--Prithee, are there any notable battles in store--any Yankee Waterloos?--Or think once of a mighty Yankee fleet coming to the war shock in the middle of the Atlantic with an English one.--Lord, the day is at hand, when we will be able to talk of our killed & wounded like some of the old Eastern conquerors reckoning them up by thousands;--when the Battle of Monmouth will be thought child's play--& canes made out of the Constitution's timbers be thought no more of than bamboos.--I am at the end of my sheet--God bless you My Dear Gansevoort & bring you to your feet again.

Herman Melville

[P.S.] Typee is coming on bravely--a second edition is nearly out.--I need not ask you to send me that you see or hear of.

3 JULY 1 846

Lansingburgh July 3d 1846

There was a spice of civil scepticism in your manner, My Dear Sir, when we were conversing together the other day about "Typee" --What will the politely incredulous Mr Duycknck now say to the true Toby's having turned up in Buffalo, and written a letter to the Commercial Advertiser of that place, vouching for the truth of all that part (what has been considered the most extraordinary part) of the narative, where he is made to figure.--Give ear then, oh ye of little faith--especially thou man of tlle Evangelist--and hear what Toby has to say for himself.--

Seriously, My Dear Sir, this resurection of Toby from the dead --this strange bringing together of two such places as Typee & Buffalo, is really vely curious.--It can not but settle the question of the book's genuineness. The article in the C.A. with the letter of Toby can not possibly be gainsaid in any conceivable way--therefore I think it ought to be pushed into circulation. I doubt not but that many papers will copy it--Mr Duycknck might say a word or two on the subject which would tell.--The paper I allude to is of the 1st Inst. I have written Toby a letter & expect to see him soon & hear the sequel of the book I have written (How strangely that sounds!)

Bye the bye, since people have always manifested so much concern for "poor Toby," what do you think of writing an account of what befell him in escaping from the island--should the adventure prove to be of sufficient interest?--I should value your opinion very highly on this subject.--

I began with the intention of tracing a short note--I have come near writing a long letter

Beleive me, My Dear Sir

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville

Pardon me, if I have unintentionally translated your patronymick into the Sancrit or some other tongue--"What's in a name?" says Juliet--a strange combination of vowels & consonants, at least in Mr Duycknck's, Miss, is my reply.


P.S. No 2. Possibly the letter of Toby might by some silly ones be regarded as a hoax--to set you right on that point, altho' I only saw the letter last night for the first--I will tell you that it alludes to things that no human being could even [ever?] have heard of except Toby. Besides the Editor seems to have seen him.

15 JULY 1846

Wednesday Afternoon

Mr Melville is sorry that he goes out of town this evening without again seeing Mr Duyckinck.

Typee has come out measurably unsehathed from the fiery ordeal of Mr Wiley's criticisms. I trust as it now stands the book will retain all those essential features which most commended it to the public favor.

I shall see Toby before I return & obtain all the materials for the proposed Sequel; which with the new preface, & the notices of the book which are proposed to be prefixed to it--will have to remain to be settled until my return in the course of 6 or 7 days.

Very Truly Yours
My Dear Mr Duyckick
Herman Melville

15 JULY 1846

New York July l5th 1846 Mr John Murray,

Dear Sir--The decease of my brother Mr Gansevoort Melville leaving me without any correspondant in London thro' whom to communicate with you, I waive cerimony & address you at once by letter.--My object in so doing, is to inform you of certain matters connected with "Typee" which you ought to be made acquainted with, & to allude breifly [cheifly?] to one or two other subjects.

In the first place I have to inform you that "Toby" who figures in my narrative has come to life--tho' I had long supposed him to be dead. I send you by this steamer several papers (N.Y. Courier & Enquirer, N.Y. Morning News, & Albany Argus) containing allusions to him. Toby's appearance has produced quite a lively sensation here--and "Truth is stranger than Fiction" is in every body's mouth.

--In Buffalo where he "turned up" the public curiosity was sogreat that "Toby" was induced to gratify it by publishing the draught of a letter which he had originally sent to me. This is not the letter however, which appears in the papers I send you.--I was sorry for this on sorne accounts, but it could not be helped. However the impression which Toby's letter has produced is this --i e--that every thing about it bears the impress of truth.--Indeed, the whole Typee adventure is now regarded as a sort of Romance of Real Life.--You would be greatly diverted to read some of the comments of our Western Editors and log-cabin critics--But to the point.--I am now preparing a short Sequel to Typee containing a simple account of Toby's escape from the valley as related to me by himself. This Sequel will be bound up with all subsequent editions of the book here.--The curiosity of all readers has been awakened as to what became of him--& now that he has appeared & his story is so interesting, it naturally belongs to the narrative that a sequel like this should be supplied. At any rate the public are apprised of Toby's resurrection & are looking for it.--Besides, it is so strange, & withal so convincing a proof of the truth of my narrative as I it to that it can not be gainsaid.--

Were it not for the long delay it would occasion, I should take no steps towards the publication of any Sequel until I had sent the M.S.S. to you. But as matters are, this can not be done--for there is a present demand for the book which the publishers can not supply--a new edition is in preperation--& after what has happened, this can not come out very well without the story of Toby.--Still, if you publish the Sequel (which as a matter of course I suppose you will) no one will interfere with the publication, since it will be quite brief (perhaps not exceeding eight or ten pages) & depends altogether upon the narrative which precedes it.--Besides, I shall take care that you receive a copy of it by the earliest possible oportunity.

--I have just said that a new edition of the book was fortheoming. --This new edition will be a Revised one, and I can not but think that the measure will prove a judicious one.--The revision will only extend to the exclusion of those parts not naturally connected with the narrative, and some slight purifications of style. I am pursuaded that the interest of the book almost wholly consists in the --& that other portions, however interesting they may be in themselves, only serve to impede the story. The book is certainly calculated for popular reading, or for none at all.--If the first, why then, all passages which are calculated to offend the tastes, or offer violance to the feelings of any large class of readers are certainly objectionable.

--Proceeding on this principle then, I have rejected every thing, in revising the book, which refers to the missionaries. Such passages are altogether foreign to the adventure, & altho' they may possess a temporary interest now, to some, yet so far as the wide & permanent popularity of the work is conserned, their exclusion will certainly be beneficial, for to that end, the less the book has to carry along with it the better.--Certain "sea-freedoms" also have been modifyed in the expression--but nothing has been done to effect the general character & style of the book--the narrative parts are untouched--In short--in revising the work, I have merely removed passages which leave no gap, & the removal of which imparts a unity to the book which it wanted before.--The reasons which will be given to the public for this step are set forth in the enclosed paper--Something like this will be published in the shape of a "Preface to the Revised Edition."--

The new edition containing the Sequel of Toby will be out soon. This day the printers take it in hand, & will hurry it. A copy of it will be forwarded to you by the first steamer through the house of Wiley & Putnam. I would send you the M.S.S. of the Sequel, but it is by no means yet finished.

From the widely extended notices of "Typee" which have appeared in England I am led to suppose that it has met with the most flattering success there. If this be so--it can not be deemed premature in me to remind Mr Murray, of his having assured my deceased brother that in case the book met with "unusual success" he would still further remunerate the author.--Therefore, if you feel every way warranted in so doing (of which of course you are left sole judge) your early consideration of this subject will for special reasons be most gratifying to me.

--As for the matter of the revised edition--if you publish one from the copy I shall send to you, I leave it to yourself to decide, whether I should be considered as entitled to any thing on account of it.--But however that part of the matter may appear to you--I earnestly trust that you will issue a Revised Edition. Depend upon it Sir, that it will be policy so to do. Nor have I decided upon this revision without much reflection and seeking the advice of persons every way qualifyed to give it, & who have done so in a spirit of candor.

--I entertain no doubt but that the simple story of Toby will add very much to the interest of the book, especially if the public are informed of the peculiar circumstances connected with it.--If you publish it, you will reap this benefit, whatever it may be in a pecuniary way; and altho' you will not be bound to pay me any thing for the Sequel, still, should you make use of it, I rely not a little upon your liberality.

--I had almost forgotten one thing--the title of the book.--From the first I have deeply regretted that it did not appear in England under the title I always intended for it--"Typee" It was published here under that title & it has made a decided hit. Nor was any thing else to be expected--that is, if the book was going to succeed at all, for "Typee" is a title , and not farfetched as some strange titles are. Besides, its very strangeness & novelty, founded as it is upon the character of the book--are the very things to make "Typee" a popular title. The work also should be known by the same name on both sides of the water.--For these and other reasons I have thought that in all subsequent editions of the book you might entitle it "Typee"--merely prefixing that single but eloquent word to the title as it now stands with you. If you try out the revised edition with the Sequel--that would be the time to make this very slight but most important alteration.--I trust that Mr Murry will at once consider the propriety of following this suggestion.

This is an unconseionable letter for a first one, but I must[?] elongate it a little more.

I have another work now nearly completed which I am anxious to submit to you before presenting it to any other publishing house. It embraces adventures in the South Seas (of a totally different character from "Typee") and includes an eventful cruise in an English Colonial Whaleman (A Sydney Ship) 1 and a comical residence on the island of Tahiti. The time is about four months, but I & my narrative are both on the move during that short period. This new book begins exactly where Typee leaves off--but has no further connection with my first work.--Permit me here to assure Mr Murry that my new M.S.S. will be in a rather better state for the press than the M.S.S. handed to him by my brother. A little experience in this art of book-craft has done wonders.

--Will you be so good as to give me your views about this proposed publication (it will be ready the latter part of the Fall-- I beleive it is with you) as early as possible.

--Mr Murray must pardon the evident haste in which this long letter has been written--it was unavoidable.--With much respect & esteem, Dear Sir, Beleive me

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville

28 JULY 1846

It seems to be understood (from what has happened heretofore) that I should leave a little legacy of a note for Mr Duycknck every time I leave town--In conformity with which understanding, I now bequeath you these few lines, on the eve of my departure for another, & I trust, a cooler land.--

You remember you said something about anticipating the piracy that might be perpetrated on the "Sequel," by publishing an extract or two from it--which you said you would attend to.--I meant to speak to you again about it--but forgot so to do.--However, be so good, as to consider yourself now reminded of it by these presents.--I take this to be a matter of some little moment.

The (Expurgated?--Odious word!) Edition of Typee ought to be duly announced--& as the matter (in one respect) is a little delicate, I am happy that the literary tact of Mr Dycknck will be exerted on the occasion.--

Do forgive this boring you forever, and Beleive me My Dear Mr Duyckicke

Very Faithfully Yours

Herman Melville Thursday Afternoon July 28th '46

30 JULY 1846

Mr Murray Dear Sir

By this Steamer I forward you the Sequel to "Typee" alluded to in my last. The Steamer sails on the 1st August, & the sequel will not be published here, until at least ten days hence--owing to the backwardness in getting out the Revised Edition in which the Sequel will first appear. For the same reason, I am now unable to forward you a copy complete of the book as revised--which I would much wish to do. However, I will see that it is forwarded by the first possible oportunity.

Trusting that you will consider the subjects treated of in the letter I wrote you a week or two since, and write me your views as soon as you conveniently can, I remain, Mr Murray

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville New York July 30. 1846.

I am more than ever impressed with the thought, that the permanent reputation as well as the present popularity of Typee will be greatly promoted by the revision to which it has just been subjected. This remark applies equally to both countries.


Lansingburgh Sept 2d 1846

My Dear Sir--Your very friendly and welcome letter of the 3d ult was forwarded to me from New York a few days since--Before alluding to any thing else I can not forbear expressing to you how sensible I am of the sincere sympathy you express in the decease of my noble and lamented brother.

I am extremely happy that you acquiese in the propriety of the revision of Typee, and only fear that possibly you may not fully approve the extent to which it has been carried. Nevertheless I think I have done right.--

The Preface is very short--I made it so purposely--I could not go into particulars without being prosy & egotistic,8c so I settled the matter in one or two compendious paragraphs.

--As to the Sequel, I only fear that your expectations, might have been too high--of its interest--& hence you may be disappointed--However, more than to satisfy the reader's curiosity as to Toby's escape could not be expected from it--& it is written as simply as possible.

--The introductory note is brief. Aside from the consideration that Toby's resucitation had been bruited over the country here, so as to render any particular statement needless--I considered that were I to make any such statement it would lead me into divers disenchanting and unromantic details, which at the very close of the story would show as awkwardly as the clumsy frame of a scene[?] peeping into view just as the curtain falls on the last act of the drama.

--I have seen Toby. have his dargurrtype--a lock of those ebon curls.--I had intended by this steamer to write & send you a brief account of my manner of treating of him--our interview &c--I shall do so by the next Steamer.

Rejoiced am I, My Dear Sir, that the magic, cabilistic, "Typee" will hereafter grace the title-page of all subsequent English editions of the book 1_Its judiciousness will be justifyed by the result.

With reference to the payment you promise me at the end of the year I have no doubt it is a fair compensation and I will add that circumstances will make it peculiarly acceptable--You will perhaps [want?] some sort of receipt for the money--any thing of that kind I will send you on its reception.

--Concerning the book on the stocks (which bye the by must'nt fall to peices there, since I have not done much to it lately) I will forward you enough of it to enable you to judge therof.--(Perhaps the whole)--However, you must not Dear Sir expect another Typee--The fates must send me adrift again ere I write another adventure like that exactly.--You ask for "documentary evidences" of my having been at the Marquesas--in Typee.--Dear Sir, how indescibably vexatious, when one really feels in his very bones that he has been there, to have a parcel of blockheads question it!--Not (let me hurry to tell you) that Mr John Murray comes under that category--Oh no--Mr Murray I am ready to swear stands fast by the faith, beleiving "Typee" from Preface to Sequel--He only wants something to stop the mouths of the senseless sceptics--men who go straight from their cradles to their graves & never dream of the queer things going on at the antipodes.-- I know not how to set about getting the evidence--How under Heaven am I to subpeona the skipper of the Dolly who by this time is the Lord only knows where, or Kory-Kory who I'll be bound is this blessed day taking his noon nap somewhere in the flowery vale of Typee, some leagues too from the Monument. Seriously on the receipt of your welcome favor, Dear Sir, I addressed a note to the owners of the ship, asking if they could procure for me, a copy of that part of the ship's log which makes mention of two rascals running away at Nukuheva--to wit Herman Melville and Richard T Greene. As yet I have nothing in reply --If I think of any other kind of evidence I will send it, if it can be had & despatched. --Typee however must at last be beleived on its own account--they beleive it here now--a little touched up they say but true. --Accompanying this you will receive a paper (formerly con- ducted by Mr P Willis) which contains an article with regard to the genuineness of Typee which I wish you to observe.-- I wish you would send me any further notices of the book you may see--I have no other mode of getting them. I have only seen the Sp[e]ctat[o]r, Times Sun Joh[n] Bull, Athen[ae]um, Critic, Ecle[c]tic, Simmon[d']s, Shill[in]g M'zin[e] & one or two others -- Possibly there may be a stray one that I have not seen.--

You must pardon this terrific scrawl--I write fast, to save the mail for Boston which leaves now within 20 minutes.--Address me Care of Allan Melville Wall Street New York City.

And now with many thanks for your friendly letter, and cordial wishes for your health & prosperity Beleive me, My Dear Mr Murray

Very sincerely Yours Herman Melville.


My Dear Mr Duyckinck

I arrived in town last evening from the East. As I hinted to you some time ago I have a new book in M.S.--Relying much upon your liter;lry judgement I am very desirous of getting your opinion of it & (if you feel disposed to favor me so far) to receive your hints. --I adaress you now not as being in any way connected with Messrs W & P. but presume to do so confidentially & as a friend.

In passing thro' town some ten days since I left the M.S. with a particular lady acquaintance of mine; at whose house I intend calling this evening to obtain it. The lady resides up town. On my way down I will stop at your residence with the M.S. & will be very much pleased to see you--if not otherwise engaged.--I will call, say at 8 1/2.

With sincere regard

Beleive Me, My Dear Sir

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville Wall Street, Tuesday Morning.

If you are to be engaged this evening pray inform me by the bearer.

10 DECEMBER 1846

My Dear Sir

Herewith you have the remaining chapters Those marked in the Table of Contents as Nos V. VII. & XVII. have been rejected altogether--but this does not break the continuity of the book. I have not as yet altered the numbers of the chapters as thus affected.

I beg you to pay particular attention to the following chapters--Chapters 33 34--& 45 46 47 48. 49. 50.--They all refere more or less to the missions & the condition of the natives.

Very Faithfully Yours

Herman Melville Thursday Afternoon.

30 DECEMBER 1846

New York Dec 30th 1846 John Romeyn Brodhead Esq

Dear Sir:--The longstanding acquaintance between our families, and particularly that between my late brother Mr Gansevoort Melville and yourself, induce me to solicit a favor which my slight acquaintance with you would not perhaps warrant. By granting it, as I think you will, you will confer that which I shall not forget.

I have recently made an arrangement with the Harpers to bring out a new work of mine. But altho' it has just gone to press, they are to defer publication until I have concluded arrangements to bring out the work in England. This is for the express purpose, as you will perceive, of securing a copyright there.--Now, I have no correspondent in London who can act for me--is it too much to solicit your friendly offices?--There is little to be done--a mere sale to effect--that accomplished, the rest remains with the publisher.

Presuming that you will not refuse what I ask, permit me, Dear Sir, to take it for granted.

Mr Murray of Albemarle Street has by letter informed me, that upon receiving the proof sheets of my new book he would make me a liberal offer therefore.--I, of course, guarenteeing the integrity of the copyright for England, which I will do.

Now, relying upon your friendly consent to do what I ask of you, I shall write Mr Murray to the effect, that I shall empower Mr Brodhead to treat with him for the sale of the book, & that I will also send the proof sheets under cover to you by the steamer of the 1st of February, & that you will upon their arrival at once submit them to him for an offer.

Do not, I pray you, entertain the slightest apprehension or delicacy as to any responsibility you may think you will assume by acting for me in this matter. For by the steamer which carries over the proof sheets I will give you such instructions as will remove all scruples upon this head.

I will write you fully by the steamer of the 1st of February.

You see, I rely upon your granting this favor--Your declining so to do will not only place me in a very unpleasant predicament, but will occasion me no small pecunary loss.

With high consideration and true regard, Beleive Me, Dear Sir

Your obednt Servant

Herman Melville

Should there be any probability of your being out of town upon the arrival of the proof sheets, I must beg of you to leave directions for having them forthwith forwarded to Mr Murray. I shall write him to this effect.

30 DECEMBER 1846

New York December 30th '46 My Dear Sir--The new work which I sometime ago informed you I was employed upon is at length finished. I have made an arrangement with the house of Harper & Brothers to stereeotype & publish the same. But it is an express condition that after furnishing me with a complete proof, they shall defer publication until I have time to make arrangements to bring out the book in England. They are not to publish until I notify them so to do. Thus the English copyright can be secured.

The work has gone to press; and by the steamer of the 1st of February (the next after that of the 1st of January) I shall send the proof sheets in the U.S. Despatch Bag to Mr John Romyn Brodhead (with whom I am acquainted) the present American Secretary of Legation. I will also empower him to treat for the sale of the book.

Of course I should much prefer your publishing it, & I think that as it has a certain connection with "Typee" you will be desirous of so doing. The two books will sell together. Mr Brodhead will at once submit the proof sheets to you, and I trust that no difficulty will be in the way of making an arrangement satisfactory to all concerned. My purpose in writing you now is merely to apprise you that the proof sheets are fortheoming. By the steamer of the 1st of February I shall write more fully if necessary.

On this point you may rely: that the work will not be published here except simultaniously with its publication abroad.

I expect to have the pleasure of hearing from you by the steamer which leaves England on the 4th January next.

With much regard

Beleive Me, Dear Sir,


Herman Melville Mr John Murray Albemarle Street. P.S. Should, by any chance Mr Brodhead be out of town upon the arrival of the proof sheets, he will by my directions cause them to be at once forwarded to you unconditionally. To provide for which contigency I will write you further by the steamer of the 1st Of February.

21 JANUARY 1847

My Dear Sir

Upon reflection I question the propriety of publishing any part of the book I am about bringing out so long previous to the publication of the whole.

However, this will not prevent your publishing a chapter or so at a more suitable time, should you desire to --

Yours Truly

Herman Melville Thursday Morning--Broadway.

29 JANUARY 1847

New York January 29th 1847. My Dear Sir--I presume that before this you have received my letter by the steamer of the 1st of January. By the steamer which carries you this, I send to Mr John Romeyn Brodhead of the American Legation the proof sheets of my new work. He will immediately cause them to be placed in your hands; and I have fully authorised him to treat in my behalf for the sale of the book. In case you would like to publish it, I anticipate no difficulty in Mr Brodhead's making an arrangement with you satisfactory to all concerned. I preferred having some one to act for me in London, thinking that it would be much better, all round.--

I beleive that I informed you in my last that I had made it a positive condition with the Harpers--my publishers here--that the work should not be published by them until I advise them so to do. Of course, this is with the view of securing a copyright for the English publisher. And I shall not instruct them to publish until I hear definitively from England as to the day upon which publication will take place in that country. It is most important, however, that the work should be published as soon as possible. The stereeotype plates are cast, & publication held here in suspence.-- The steamer which carries out the proof sheets to Mr Brodhead, will arrive about the 20th of February--perhaps before that time --leaving ample time for arrangements for publication to be made in London, so as to send me definite advices by the steamer which leaves your shores on the 4th of March next.--Should you come to an understanding with Mr Brodhead, & agree to publish, I confidently rely upon hearing from you by that opportunity--& that you will then name the day upon which publication will take place--so that as little delay as possible may be occasioned in bringing the work out here.--I deem it proper to state that every possible precaution has been taken to prevent the getting abroad of any of the proof sheets--& that not the slightest apprehension is to be entertained that it will come out here before it does in London.--Of course, owing to the before-mentioned understanding with the Harpers, the proof sheets which I send to London, are as valuable to a publisher there, as the M.S.S. of the book would have been, transmitted to England direct, & previous to making any arrangements here for publication.--I send Mr Brodhead a power of attorney, which makes him, in this matter, my authorized agent.--

Of the book itself, of course, you will judge for yourself. So I will not say, what opinions of it have been given here by persons competent to judge of its merits as a work calculated for popular reading.--But I think you will find it a fitting successor to "Typee"; inasmuch as the latter book delineates Polynisian Life in its primi- tive state--while the new work, represents it, as affected by inter- course with the whites. It also describes the "man about town" sort of life, led, at the present day, by roving sailors in the Pacific --a kind of thing, which I have never seen described anywhere.-- The title of the work, may be thought a curious one--but after reading the narrative no one will doubt its propriety as explained in the Preface.--It might, however, be advisable to add to the title as it now stands, the following:--"Including Some Account of a Sojourn on the Island of Tahiti"--But whether this be added or not, I desire the title (as it now appears) to remain untouched-- its oddity, or uniqueness, if you please conveys some insight into the nature of the book. It gives a sort of Polynisian expression to its "figurehead."--At any rate, no one questions the right of a parent to dub his offspring as he pleases;--the same should be accorded to an author.

--You will perceive that there is a chapter in the book which describes a dance in the valley of Tamai. This discription has been modified & adapted from a certain chapter which it was thought best to exclude from Typee. In their dances the Tahitians much resembled the Marquesans (the two groups of islands are not far apart) & thus is the discription faithful in both instances.

--In the early part of the work, I make free use of nautical terms without, in all cases, explaining their use. But I am well warranted in so doing by the practice of the most successful writers--Marryatt, Cooper, Dana &c.--With the proof sheets, I send a map, a draught of the one which will appear with the book here. I have had it drawn expressly for the work.--I think it essential. The dedication, of course, I wish to appear in the English edition.--I am desirous that the book shall appear in England, just as I send it: altho' there may be some minor errors--typographical--as the plates have been hurried in order to get them ready in time for the steamer. They will be gone over & corrected before publication here.--However, there is no error, which any proof reader might not correct.--the omitting of a figure in the pageing &c.

--In case any thing unforseen should prevent Mr Brodhead from acting in my behalf, the proof sheets will be placed in your hands, unconditionally--in which case, as prompt action is imperative, I rely upon your at once going forward with the publication of the book (should you be pleased with it) & giving me (to use the language,of your letter to me) "as liberal an offer as you can" which offer, under the circumstances, you will have to consider accepted, should the above contingency occur.--

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville

I expected to have heard from you by the last steamer (4th Jan.) but have not heard from you.

You may address me at New York "Care of Allan Melville No 10 Wall Street."


My Dear Sir

I sincerely regret that an unforseen circumstance should have prevented me from being at your house at the time appointed. I should have called at some other time during the evening, but I had previously engaged to go the Opera.

I have procured the book you spoke of from the Harpers--& shall find much pleasure in making it the basis of an artic:e for your paper

Yours Very Truly

Herman Melville Tuesday Morning.

31 MARCH 1847

No 10 Wall Street, New York

March 31 st 1847 My Dear Sir--Your letter by the Hibernia of the 3d Of March enclosing copies of notes between Mr Murray & yourself & informing me of the sale of "Omoo" was duly received.

You authorise me to draw on you for 144. 3. 4 as the proceeds of the sale. I have accordingly, thro' the house of Plune Ward & Co, drawn bills on you at one day's sight (payable at Barings) for 140--thus deducting from the original sum a small item for the expences you were put to in rescuing from the Vandals of the Liverpool Custom House "The American pirated copy of 'Typee'"--& also to provide for any little outlay which may be occasioned by your granting me a little favor I have yet to beg of you.

The precise pecuniary value of most unpublished works is so uncertain & hard to be estimated (especially, under the circumstances, with respect to my new work) that I hardly (between you & me) know how liberal to consider Mr Murray's offer which you accepted after due consideration.--At any rate, I have a high opinion of his general liberality in these matters;--and, My Dear Sir, you may beleive me, when I assure you, that I have no doubt you have done all that you could do--for which I need hardly add, you have my best & sincerest thanks.

The book will be out here about the 10th or 12th of April.

You may naturally suppose that I have much curiosity to see how "Omoo" will be received by the sagatious Critics of the English press; & as I have not, now, that intimate correspondence with London which I had not very long since, may I beg of you the favor, to have an eye, occasionally, upon the Reviews, & to cause to be collected & sent me, in their original form, whatever notices may appear of the book.--Mr Miller, I beleive, used to assist my late brother in these matters.--In a letter, which I am just about to address to Mr Murray I am going to request him to put up a package for me of several copies of his edition of the book--& I have taken the liberty to suggest that he might send the same to the office of the Legation to be, thence forwarded to me.--I shall also tell Mr Murray that if there is any thing to be paid, you will attend to it. Once more, permit me, My Dear Mr Brodhead to tender you my hearty thanks for your friendly agency in my behalf--& to express the hope that I may hear from you whenever your diplo- matic engagements admit of epistolary recreation.

With great consideration

& True Regard

I am Yours

Herman Melville. J Romeyn Brodhead Esq Secretary of Legation.

31 MARCH 1847

No 10 Wall Street, New York.

March 31st 1847.

Dear Sir--By the steamer of the 4th Inst Mr Brodhead informed me that he had disposed of the English copyright of "Omoo" to you for 150, subject, however, to a deduction on account of a cash payment.--As Mr Brodhead advises me that the money will be paid over to him on the day of publication (April 1st) I have accordingly (at his suggestion) drawn bills on him at one day's sight. I suppose that this will be all right.--The book will not be out here until about the 10th or 12th of April--thus securing your copyright effectually. --I trust that the reception which has been predicted for "Omoo" may be verifyed by the event. If it succeed, the two books can not fail to sell together, & thus assist each other. At any rate, I hope that the sagatious Critic of the London Literary Gasette will hereafter abate something of his incredulity. I can assure him, that I am really in existence. Bye the by, will you be so good as to send me the reviews which may appear of "Omoo"--also, if it be not too much trouble, a few copies--say six--of your edition of the book.3 Mr Brodhead will defray all expences & the package, if you please, may be sent to his care at the office of the Legation, & so come to me by the Despatch Bag. You may likewise enclose in the package, if convenient, some of your monthly circulars announcing the book as forthcoming.-- If "Omoo" succeeds I shall follow it up by something else, im- mediately.--I trust you will not fail to write me should any thing of interest to me turn up.

With Sincere Regard

Beleive Me, Dear Sir


Herman Melville Mr John Murray Albemarl[e] Street.

2 APRIL 1847
10 Wall Street, New York.

April 2nd, 1847 My Dear Sir-- After considerable delay I have completed arrangements for the simultaneous publication of a new work in this country and in England. I will direct to be sent to your address this day from the office of publication a number (marked 'private' of the 'Literary World') announcing in an advertisement the book as forthcoming. Glance at the advertisement, if you please, and do me the honor of saying something, editorially, in your paper. Mr. Murray (who has purchased the copyright for England) speaks of the book in a very high strain of compliment in a note to Mr. Brodhead of the Legation. But he paid the work a still better and more satisfactory compliment in the offer he made for it. With high consideration and true regard, Believe me,


Herman Melville

23? or 30? APRIL I 847

Dear Sir--Will you put up a couple of bound copies of Omoo for the bearer--of course they are ready by this time

Yours Truly

Herman Melville Friday mornlng.

23? or 30? APRIL I 847

Dear Sir--Will you put up a couple of bound copies of Omoo for the bearer--of course they are ready by this time

Yours Truly

Herman Melville Friday mornlng.

19 JUNE 1847?
New York June 19th

Dear Sir--I am much obliged to you for your note of the 17 ult: and its friendly overtures; and I regret that at present I am not at liberty to meet them--a partial understanding with another publisher forbidding. --Should any thing occur, however, to alter my present views and arrangements, I will not fail to write you; or perhaps, communicate with you thro' the agency of a friend.

Yours Very Truly

Herman Melville Richard Bentley Esq. P.S. If you see fit, I would be obliged to you, if you would in- form me at what value you would hold the English copy right of a new work of South Sea adventure, by me, occupying entirely fresh ground. H. M. I would receive such a communication in confidence, as, of course, you receive this.

10? OR 31? JULY 1847

My Dear Sir Day before yesterday I received your friendly note & the paper with frankincense enclosed. Upon my soul, Duycknck, these Eng- lish are a sensible people. Indeed to confess the truth, when I compare their reception of Omoo in particular, with its treatment here, it begets ideas not very favorable to one's patriotism. But this is almost being too frank. Your note should have received an answer sooner--but my associations just now, touch much upon my personal liberty. With pleasure I comply with your invitation to call upon you-- will you be in this evening? for I meditate a visit. Yours Truly

Herman Melville Saturday Morning.

6 AUGUST 1847

Friday Morning My Dear Sir. At my desire Lizzie has left a small space for a word or two.--We arrived here last evening after a pleasant ride from Franklin the present terminus of the Northern Rail Road. The scenery was in many places very fine, & we caught some glimpses of the mountain region to which we are going. Centre-Harbor where we now are is a very attractive place for a tourist, having the lake for boating & trouting, & plenty of rides in the vicinity, besides Red-Hill, the view from which is said to be equal to any thing of the kind in New England. A rainy day however, has thus far prevented us from taking an excursion, to enjoy the country.-- To morrow, I think we shall leave for Conway & thence to Mt Washington. & so to Canada.--I trust in the course of some two weeks to bring Lizzie to Lansingburgh, quite refreshed & invigorated from her rambles.--Remember me to Mrs Shaw & the family, & tell my Mother that I will write to her in a day or two.

Sincerely Yours

Herman Melville

Letters directed, within four or five days from now, will probably reach us at Montreal or Quebec[.]

29 OCTOBER 1847

New York Oct: 29th 1847. Dear Sir--I beleive we have not communicated since Omoo was published. I have therefore to express to you my gratification at the reception it has been honored with in England. But I can hardly conceal my surprise & diversion at the solemn incredulity respecting the author which would seem to obtain so widely.-- Old Maga--God bless his cocked hat!--shakes his venerable head sagatiously, notwithstanding his keen relish for the humourous. Verily, could he survey the portly figure & substantial Dutch bearing of "mine honored Uncle" he would, perforce, confess that a little flesh & blood entered into the composition of my "avuncular relative"--whom Heaven preserve!--As you may pos- sibly imagine, I am engaged upon another book of South Sea Adventure (continued from, tho' wholly independent of, "Omoo") --The new work will enter into scenes altogether new, & will, I think, possess more interest than the former, which treated of subjects comparatively trite. --In anticipation of any movement on my part, I have recently received overtures from a house in London concerning the prospective purchase of the English copyright of a third book. From this house the offer would be a liberal one, I am confident. But I have declined trammeling myself in any way--&, from considerations of courtesy, address you now, to learn what you may feel disposed to offer in advance for the book in question.--The signal success of two books, & other considerations peculiar to the case, leave little doubt as to the success of a third:--a fact evidenced by the overtures I have received.--I can not but be conscious, that the feild where I garner is troubled but with few & inconsiderable intruders (in my own peculiar province I mean)--that it is wide & fresh;--indeed, I only but begin, as it were, to feel my hand. --I can not say certainly when the book will be ready for the press--but probably the latter part of the coming Spring--perhaps later--possibly not until Fall--but by that time, certainly.--However, I am very desirous of arranging for the sale of the book now, (since I perceive it can be done) so as to preclude delay when the M.S. is in readiness. Permit me, here, frankly to say, that I was disappointed at the pecuniary value you set upon "Omoo"-- tho' from the circumstances of the negotiation, I could not very well--or very courtiously to my friend Mr Brodhead--express my disappointment at the time.--Surely, if the probable sale of Omoo in England is to be estimated by the notices of it which have appeared there, & also by its known sale here, you can not be surprised, that to say the least, the book in my estimation brought less than it has proved to be worth, in a merely business point of view.--Under the circumstances I can hardly say with Shylock that "I am content" --nor would it be a happy allusion, while thus upon money matters, likening myself to a Jew.--Nevertheless, in the sale of the book--Omoo--there was no reservation for the benefit of the author as in "Typee"--unless there was one in your own mind--I have therfore nothing further to say on the subject. Now that it strikes me, do you not think that a third book would prove more remunerative to both publisher & author, if got up independent of your library, in a different style, so as to command, say, double the price. Afterwards it might be incorporated into your series of cheap books--a mere suggestion, which may go for what it is worth. With regard to the new book, let me say that my inclinations lead me to prefer the imprimature of "John Murray" to that of any other London publisher; but at the same [time] circumstances paramount to every other consideration, force me to regard my literary affairs in a strong pecuniary light.

Yours, My Dear Sir, Very Truly

Herman Melville John Murray Esq.

1 JANUARY 1848

New York Jan: 1st '48

Dear Sir--I duly received your letter of the 3d ult: and am obliged to you for the frankness of its tenor. The arrangement you propose for my next book is not altogether satisfactory to me. At the least, I should want the advance doubled.--I do not think-- permit me to say--that you can very well judge of the merits of the work in question--Very naturally indeed, you may be led to imagine that after producing two books on the South Seas, the subject must necessarily become somewhat barren of novelty. But the plan I have pursued in the composition of the book now in hand, clothes the whole subject in new attractions & combines in one cluster all that is romantic, whimsical & poetic in Polynusia. It is yet a continuous narrative. I doubt not that--if it makes the hit I mean it to--it will be counted a rather bold aim; [& its authentic] but nevertheless, it shall have the right stuff in it, to redeem its faults, tho' they were legion. All This to be sure, is confidential--& egotistical--decidedly the latter. Upon the whole, allow me to suggest, that possibly, you may not form as high an idea of the book now, as you may, when you see it. And therefore, unless something unforseen occurs, I may decide to allow the whole matter to rest where it is. And without seeking the direct offers of any other London publisher, wait till the book is completed--then forward it to you, & see whether your offer is not increased by the sight--materially. Thus much is due to you in courtesy, & I will cheerfuly do as I say should nothing intervene. But should your views of the book, not coincide with mine in reference to its pecuniary value, of course, I shall then pursue such other course as may seem advisable.

In Some Haste

Very Truly Yours, Dear Sir

Herman Melville John Murray Esq Albemarle Street.

12 FEBRUARY 1848

Saturday Feb 12th Gentlemen I have recd your account--but have had no time to examine it; & I see that it is "subject to corrections"

--You will have the goodness to pay over to my brother the balance due as appears from the acct for which he will give you a receipt on account.--If you can not pay me the cash deducting three months interest which I should prefer; I suppose you will give me your note at 3 mos frm Jany 1st Yours Truly

Herman Melville

If you settle by note please have the note payable to my brother's order. H. M.

8 MARCH 1848

Wednesday Morning My Dear Duyckick If you happen to be disengaged this evening, come round and make up a rubber of whist--about 1/2 past seven. Yours Truly Herman Melville

25 MARCH 1848

New York March 25th 1848 My Dear Sir--Nothing but a sad failing of mine--procrastination --has prevented me from replying ere this to yours of the 7 Jany last, which I have just read over. --Will you still continue, Mr Murray, to break seals from the Land of Shadows--persisting in carrying on this mysterious correspondence with an imposter shade, that under the fanciful appellation of Herman Melvill still practices upon your honest credulity?--Have a care, I pray, lest while thus parleying with a ghost you fall upon some horrible evel, peradventure sell your soul ere you are aware.--But in tragic phrase "no more!" --only glancing at the closing sentence of your letter, I read there your desire to test the corporeality of H-- M--by clapping eyes upon him in London.--I beleive that a letter I wrote you some time ago--I think my last but one --gave you to understand, or implied, that the work I then had in view was a bona-vide narrative of my adventures in the Pacific, continued from "Omoo"--My object in now writing you--I should have done so ere this--is to inform you of a change in my determinations. To be blunt: the work I shall next publish will [be] in downright earnest [be] a "Romance of Polynisian Adventure"-- But why this? The truth is, Sir, that the reiterated imputation of being a romancer in disguise has at last pricked me into a resolution to show those who may take any interest in the matter, that a real romance of mine is no Typee or Omoo, & is made of different stuff altogether. This I confess has been the main inducement in altering my plans--but others have operated. I have long thought that Polynisia furnished a great deal of rich poetical material that has never been employed hitherto in works of fancy; and which to bring out suitably, required only that play of freedom & invention accorded only to the Romancer & poet.--However, I thought, that I would postpone trying my hand at any thing fanciful of this sort, till some future day: tho' at times when in the mood I threw off occasional sketches applicable to such a work.--Well: proceeding in my narrative of facts I began to feel an incurible distaste for the same; & a longing to plume my pinions for a flight, & felt irked, cramped & fettered by plodding along with dull common places,--So suddenly standing [abandoning?] the thing alltogether, I went to work heart & soul at a romance which is now in fair progress, since I had worked at it under an earnest ardor.--Shout not, nor exclaim "Pshawl Puhl"--My romance I assure you is no dish water nor its model borrowed from the Circulating Library. It is something new I assure you, & original if nothing more. But I can give you no adequate idea, of it. You must see it for yourself.--Only forbear to prejudge it.-- It opens like a true narrative--like Omoo for example, on ship board--& the romance & poetry of the thing thence grow continually, till it becomes a story wild enough I assure you & with a meaning too. --As for the policy of putting forth an acknowledged romance upon the heel of two books of travel which in some quarters have been recvd with no small incredulity--That, Sir, is a question for which I care little, really.--My instinct is to out with the Romance, & let me say that instincts are prophetic, & better than acquired wisdom--which alludes remotely to your experience in literature as an eminent publisher.--Yet upon the whole if you consider the thing, I think you will unite with me in the opinion, that it is possible for me to write such a romance, that it shall afford the strongest presumptive evidence of the truth of Typee & Omoo by the sheer force of contrast--not that the Romance is to sink in the comparison, but shall be better--I mean as a literary acheivement, & so essentially different from those two books.-- But not to multiply words about it, I shall forward the proof sheets to you, & let you judge of it for yourself, for I have the utmost confidence in you.--Supposing that you should decide to undertake the publication of this work;--if you recd the sheets by the middle of July next, could you have it out in thirty days from that time? And would you, under the circumstances, deem it advisable to publish at that season of the year,--bearing in mind, that there are reasons that operate with me to make as early a publication as possible, a thing of much pecuniary importance with me?--If you say yea to these questions, then I think I should be ready to propose the following arrangement:--that upon the receipt of the sheets & your decision to publish, you substitute 150 for the 100 guineas set down in your letter of Dec 3d '47-- forwarding upon publication the former sum, & agreeing to pay me 1/2 the profits of all future editions (should there be any) when all expences of outlay on your part shall have been defraid by the book itself; & remitting some specific memorandum to that effect, in case of accidents.--If upon the receipt of the sheets you should agree to this, then without waiting to communicate with me, you might consider the matter closed at once & proceed to business at once;--only apprising me immediately of the very earliest day upon which I could publish here. This would save time. In your next, will you point out the safest method of forwarding to you my book; seeing that Omoo met with such adventures at your atrocious Custom Houses --By the way, you ask again for "documentary evidence" of my having been in the South Seas, wherewithall to convince the unbelievers --Bless my soul, Sir, will you Britons not credit that an American can be a gentleman, & have read the Waverly Novels, tho every digit may have been in the tar-bucket?--You make miracles of what are common-places to us.--I will give no evidence --Truth is mighty & will prevail--& shall & must.

In all sincerity Yours

Herman Melville

19 JUNE 1848

New York June 19th My Dear Sir--Yours of the 20th May last was duly received. And I should apologise for so long postponing a reply.--In spite of the Antarctic tenor of your epistle, I still adhere to my first resolution of submitting the sheets of my new work to your experienced eye.-- I fear you abhor romances; But fancy nevertheless that possibly you may for once relent.--By this mail I purposed sending you one or two original documents, evidencing the incredible fact, that I have actually been a common sailor before the mast, in the Pacific. But most unfortunately, this morning I am unable to lay hand on the most important of the documents alluded to. It has been mislaid. But with the rest I will remit it to you as soon as I recover it.

Beleive Me My Dear Sir

Yours Trly

Herman Melville

John Murray Esq. Albemarle Street.

The "documentary evidence" above mentioned very recently came into my possession (all but one) Hence the change in my decision respecting furnishing you with any thing of that sort.

H. M.

19 AUGUST 1848

John Wiley Esq or Wiley & Putnam. The terms of the agreement by which Typee is published by your house containing the proviso that sixty days notice proceeding from either party to the agreement may at any time at the expiration of the sixty days be terminated, I hereby give you such notice to take effect from this date. At the expiration of the sixty days I will be obliged to you for a full account to that date of all matters growing out of the above mentioned agreement Yours &c

H. Melville New York 19. Aug 1848.

14? NOVEMBER 1848

Tuesday Morning What the deuce does it mean?--Here's a book positively turned wrong side out, the title page on the cover, an index to the whole in more ways than one.--I open at the beginning, & find myself in the middle of the Blue Laws & Dr. O'Callaghan. Then proceeding, find several extracts from the Log Book of Noah's Ark-- Still further, take a hand at three or four bull fights, & then I'm set down to a digest of all the commentors on Shakspeare, who, according "to our author" was a dunce & a blackguard--Vide passim. Finally the books--so far as this copy goes--wind up with a dissertation on Duff Gordon Sherry & St Anthony's Nose, North River.-- You have been horribly imposed upon, My Dear Sir. The book is no book, but a compact bundle of wrapping paper. And as for Mr Hart, pen & ink, should instantly be taken away from that unfortunate man, upon the same principle that pistols are withdrawn from the wight bent on suicide. --Prayers should be offered up for him among the congregations. and Thanksgiving Day postponed untill long after his "book" is published. What great national sin have we committed to deserve this infliction? --Seriously, Mr Duyckincke, on my bended knees, & with tears in my eyes, deliver me from writing ought upon this crucifying Romance of Yachting --What has Mr Hart done that I should publicly devour him? --I bear that hapless man, no malice. Then why smite him? --And as for glossing over his book with a few commonplaces,-- that I can not do.--The book deserves to be burnt in a fire of asafetida, & by the hand that wrote it. Seriously again, & on my conscience, the book is an abortion, the mere trunk of a book, minus head arm or leg.--Take it back, I beseech, & get some one to cart it back to the author

Yours Sincerely

H. M.

28 JANUARY 1849

New York January 28th 1849 My Dear Sir: Herewith you will receive the sheets of "Mardi." After full consideration, I must explicitly state, that I can hardly consent to dispose of the book for less than 200 guineas, in ad- vance, on the day of publication, & half the profits of any editions which may be sold after the book shall have paid for itself--of course, including the outlay of the 200 guineas-- Upon these terms should you feel disposed to undertake it, I should feel exceedingly gratified to continue our connection, & should equally regret to be obliged to leave you.--Should you publish, you Will, of course, write me at once formally notifying your acceptance of the terms; stating the earliest day upon which publication could take place here without interfering with your interests; & authorizing me to draw on you for the above-mentioned sum. It would form part of an agreement, also, that your edition is to be an exact transcript of the copy forwarded you;--unless, you should see fit to alter the spelling of a few words (spelt according to Webster) in conformity with some other standard.--I swear by no particular creed in orthography; but my printers here "go for" Webster.--I would here beg to remind you of your own sugges- tion:--that it would be advisable to publish the book in handsome style, & independently of any series.--Unless you should deem it very desirable do not put me down on the title page as "the author of Typee & Omoo." I wish to separate "Mardi" as much as possible from those books. Should you decline publication, I trust you will loose no time in placing the sheets of the book into Mr Brodhead's hands, at the "United States Legation" I earnestly hope that we shall join hands in this matter.

Sincerely Yours

H. Melville. John Murray, Esq.

24 FEBRUARY 1849

Feb 24th Dear Duyckinck Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. Mr Butler's a genius, but between you & me, I have a presentiment that he never will surprise me more.--I have been passing my time very pleasurably here, But cheifly in lounging on a sofa (a la the poet Grey) & reading Shakspeare. It is an edition in glorious great type, every letter whereof is a soldier, & the top of every "t" like a musket barrel. Dolt & ass that I am I have lived more than 29 years, & until a few days ago, never made close acquaintance with the divine William. Ah, he's full of sermons-on-the-mount, and gentle, aye, almost as Jesus. I take such men to be inspired. I fancy that this moment Shakspeare in heaven ranks with Gabriel Raphael and Michael. And if another Messiah ever comes twill be in Shakesper's person.--I am mad to think how minute a cause has prevented me hitherto from reading Shakspeare. But until now, every copy that was come-atable to me, happened to be in a vile small print unendurable to my eyes which are tender as young sparrows. But chancing to fall in with this glorious edition, I now exult over it, page after page.-- I have heard Emerson since I have been here. Say what they will, he's a great man. Mrs Butler too I have heard at her Readings. She makes a glorious Lady Macbeth, but her Desdemona seems like a boarding school miss.--She's so unfemininely masculine that had she not, on unimpeckable authority, borne children, I should be curious to learn the result of a surgical examination of her person in private. The Lord help Butler--not the poet-- I marvel not he seeks being amputated off from his matrimonial half. My respects to Mrs Duycknk & your brother


H Melville Evert A Duycknk Esq

3 MARCH 1849

Mount Vernon Street Saturday, 3d. Nay, I do not oscillate in Emerson's rainbow, but prefer rather to hang myself in mine own halter than swing in any other man's swing. Yet I think Emerson is more than a brilliant fellow. Be his stuff begged, borrowed, or stolen, or of his own domestic manufacture he is an uncommon man. Swear he is a humbug--then is he no common humbug. Lay it down that had not Sir Thomas Browne lived, Emerson would not have mystified--I will answer, that had not Old Zack's father begot him, Old Zack would never have been the hero of Palo Alto. The truth is that we are all sons, grandsons, or nephews or great-nephews of those who go before us. No one is his own sire.--I was very agreeably disappointed in Mr Emerson. I had heard of him as full of transcendentalisms, myths & oracular gibberish; I had only glanced at a book of his once in Putnam's store--that was all I knew of him, till I heard him lecture.--To my surprise, I found him quite intelligible, tho' to say truth, they told me that that night he was unusually plain.--Now, there is a something about every man elevated above mediocrity, which is, for the most part, instinctuly perceptible. This I see in Mr Emerson. And, frankly, for the sake of the argument, let us call him a fool;--then had I rather be a fool than a wise man.--I love all men who dive. Any fish can swim near the surface, but it takes a great whale to go down stairs five miles or more; & if he dont attain the bottom, why, all the lead in Galena can't fashion the plumet that will. I'm not talking of Mr Emerson now--but of the whole corps of thought-divers, that have been diving & coming up again with bloodshot eyes since the world began. I could readily see in Emerson, notwithstanding his merit, a gaping flaw. It was, the insinuation, that had he lived in those days when the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions. These men are all cracked right across the brow. And never will the pullers-down be able to cope with the builders-up. And this pulling down is easy enough--a keg of powder blew up Block's Monument --but the man who applied the match, could not, alone, build such a pile to save his soul from the sharkmaw of the Devil. But enough of this Plato who talks thro' his nose. To one of your habits of thought, I confess that in my last, I seemed, but only seemed irreverent. And do not think, my boy, that because I, impulsively broke forth in jubillations over Shakspeare, that, therefore, I am of the number of the snobs who burn their tuns of rancid fat at his shrine. No, I would stand afar off & alone, & burn some pure Palm oil, the product of some overtopping trunk. --I would to God Shakspeare had lived later, & promenaded in Broadway. Not that I might have had the pleasure of leaving my card for him at the Astor, or made merry with him over a bowl of the fine Duyckinck punch; but that the muzzle which all men wore on their souls in the Elizebethan day, might not have intercepted Shakspers full articulations. For I hold it a verity, that even Shakspeare, was not a frank man to the uttermost. And, indeed, who in this intolerant Universe is, or can be? But the Declaration of Independence makes a difference.--There, I have driven my horse so hard that I have made my inn before sundown. I was going to say something more--It was this.--You complain that Emerson tho' a denizen of the land of gingerbread, is above munching a plain cake in company of jolly fellows, & swiging off his ale like you & me. Ah, my dear sir, that's his misfortune, not his fault. His belly, sir, is in his chest, & his brains descend down into his neck, & offer an obstacle to a draught of ale or a mouthful of cake. But here I am. Good bye--

H. M.

26 MARCH 1849

New York. March. 26th 1849. Messrs. Harper & Brothers. Gentle. Mr Bentley who publishes "Mardi" in England having informed me by note dated 5th inst that he proposed to publish that work on the 15th inst nothing can prevent your publishing here immediately--I notify you accordingly

Respct yours

Herman Melville per Allan Melville

28 MARCH 1849

March 28th Boston Dear Duyckinck--When last in New York, you expressed a desire to be supplied in advance with the sheets of that new work of mine. Yesterday in a note to Cliff Street I requested them to furnish you with the sheets, as ere this they must have been printed. They are for your private eye. I suppose the book will be published now in two or three weeks. Mr Bentley is the man in London.--Rain, Rain, Rain--an interminable rain that to seek elsewhere than in Boston would be utterly vain--Rhyme by Jove, and spontaneous as heart-beating.--This is the Fourth Day of the Great Boston Rain, & how much longer it is to last the ghost of the last man drowned by the Deluge only knows. I have a continual dripping sensation; and feel like an ill-wrung towel--my soul is damp, & by spreading itself out upon paper seeks to get dry. Your well saturated

H Melville

3 APRIL 1849

Boston April 3d 1849 Dear Sir--By the last steamer letters from yourself & Mr Brodhead apprised me of the arrangements having been concluded for the publication of "Mardi." I assure you it is with pleasure that I enter into this connection with you. As authorised, I have drawn upon you at sixty & ninety days. I am indebted to you for your frank & friendly letter, & trust you will not fail to write me again, should anything interesting turn up.

Very Truly Yours, Dear Sir,

H Melville

5 APRIL 1849

Boston April 5th 1849 Dear Duyckinck--Thank you for your note, & the paper which came duly to hand. By the way, that "Smoking Spiritualised" is not bad. Doubtless it has improved by age. The quaint old lines lie in coils like a sailor's pigtail in its keg. --Ah this sovereign virtue of age--how can we living men attain unto it. We may spice up our dishes with all the condiments of the Spice Islands & Moluccas, & our dishes may be all venison & wild boar--yet how the deuce can we make them a century or two old?--My Dear Sir, the two great things yet to be discovered are these--The Art of rejuvenating old age in men, & oldageifying youth in books.--Who in the name of the trunk-makers would think of reading Old Burton were his book published for the first to day?--All ambitious authors should have ghosts capable of revisiting the world, to snuff up the steam of adulation, which begins to rise straightway as the Sexton throws his last shovelfull on him.--Down goes his body & up flies his name. Poor Hoffman --I remember the shock I had when I first saw the mention of his madness.--But he was just the man to go mad --imaginative, voluptuously inclined, poor, unemployed, in the race of life distancd by his inferiors, unmarried,--without a port or haven in the universe to make. His present misfortune--rather blessing--is but the sequel to a long experience of unwhole habits of thought.--This going mad of a friend or acquaintance comes straight home to every man who feels his soul in him,--which but few men do. For in all of us lodges the same fuel to light the same fire. And he who has never felt, momentarily, what madness is has but a mouthful of brains. What sort of sensation permanent madness is may be very well imagined--just as we imagine how we felt when we were infants, tho' we can not recall it. In both conditions we are irresponsible & riot like gods without fear of fate.-- It is the climax of a mad night of revelry when the blood has been transmuted into brandy.--But if we prate much of this thing we shall be illustrating our own propositions.-- I am glad you like that affair of mine. But it seems so long now since I wrote it, & my mood has so changed, that I dread to look into it, & have purposely abstained from so doing since I thanked God it was off my hands.--Would that a man could do something & then say--It is finished.--not that one thing only, but all others--that he has reached his uttermost, & can never exceed it. But live & push--tho' we put one leg forward ten miles --its no reason the other must lag behind--no, that must again distance the other--& so we go till we get the cramp & die.--I bought a set of Bayle's Dictionary the other day, & on my return to New York intend to lay the great old folios side by side & go to sleep on them thro' the summer, with the Phaedon in one hand & Tom Brown in the other.--Good bye I'm called.--I shall be in New York next week--early part.

H Melville

23 APRIL 1849

New York April 23d My Dear Sir--Mrs Sullivan returns to Boston conveying the intelligence of Lizzie's improving strength, & Malcolm's precocious growth. Both are well. We all expect Samuel to honor us with his presence during the approaching vacation; and I have no doubt he will not find it difficult to spend his time pleasantly with so many companions. I see that Mardi has been cut into by the London Atheneum, and also burnt by the common hangman in the Boston Post. However the London Examiner & Literary Gazette; & other papers this side of the water have done differently. These attacks are matters of course, and are essential to the building up of any permanent reputation--if such should ever prove to be mine.-- "There's nothing in it1" cried the dunce, when he threw down the 47th problem of the 1st Book of Euclid--"There's nothing in it--" --Thus with the posed critic. But Time, which is the solver of all riddles, will solve "Mardi." I trust that you will be able so to arrange your affairs as to afford us a more lengthened visit this summer than you did last year. All the family beg to be kindly remembered.

Sincerely Yours

H Melville

5 JUNE 1849

New York June 5th 1849 Dear Sir--The critics on your side of the water seem to have fired quite a broadside into "Mardi"; but it was not altogether unexpected. In fact the book is of a nature to attract compliments of that sort from some quarters; and as you may be aware yourself, it is judged only as a work meant to entertain. And I can not but think that its having been brought out in England in the ordinary novel form must have led to the disappointment of many readers, who would have been better pleased with it, perhaps, had they taken it up in the first place for what it really is.--Besides, the peculiar thoughts & fancies of a Yankee upon politics & other matters could hardly be presumed to delight that class of gentle- men who conduct your leading journals; while the metaphysical ingredients (for want of a better term) of the book, must of course repel some of those who read simply for amusement.--However, it will reach those for whom it is intended; and I have already re- ceived assurances that "Mardi," in its higher purposes, has not been written in vain. You may think, in your own mind that a man is unwise,--indiscreet, to write a work of that kind, when he might have written one perhaps, calculated merely to please the general reader, & not provoke attack, however masqued in an affectation of indifference or contempt. But some of us scribblers, My Dear Sir, always have a certain something unmanageable in us, that bids us do this or that, and be done it must--hit or miss. I have now in preparation a thing of a widely different cast from "Mardi":--a plain, straightforward, amusing narrative of personal experience--the son of a gentleman on his first voyage to sea as a sailor--no metaphysics, no conic-sections, nothing but cakes & ale. I have shifted my ground from the South Seas to a different quarter of the globe--nearer home--and what I write I have almost wholly picked up by my own observations under comical circumstances. In size the book will be perhaps a fraction smaller than "Typee"; will be printed here by the Harpers, & ready for them two or three months hence, or before. I value the English Copyright at one hundred & fifty pounds, and think it would be wise to put it forth in a manner, admitting of a popular circulation. Write me if you please at your earliest leisure; and as you have not yet sent me any copies of your edition of "Mardi"--(which of course I impute to the fact of the prodigious demand for the book with you)--I will thank you to forward me three copies. A note dropped to my friend Mr Brodhead of the Legation, will be the means of informing you whether he can send them to me in the Despatch Bag. If he cannot, the parcel would reach me by Harnden's Express,--addressed to Care of Allan Melville No 14 Wall Street, New York.

Very Faithfully, Dear Sir,

Herman Melville Richard Bentley Esq New Burlington Street.

20 JULY 1849

New York July 20th '49 Dear Sir--I am indebted to you for yours of the 20th June.-- Your report concerning "Mardi" was pretty much as I expected; but you know perhaps that there are goodly harvests which ripen late, especially when the grain is remarkably strong. At any rate, Mr Bentley, let us by all means lay this flattering unction to our souls, since it is so grateful a prospect to you as a publisher, & to me as an author.--But I need not assure you how deeply I regret that, for any period, you should find this venture of "Mardi" an unprofitable thing for you; & I should feel still more greived, did I suppose it was going to eventuate in a positive loss to you. But this can not be in the end.--However, these considerations--all, solely with respect to yourself--prevail upon me to accept your amendment to my overtures concerning my new work:--which amendment, I understand to be this--100 down on the receipt of the sheets, an account of half profits; & that you shall be enabled to publish a few days previous to the appearance of the book in America--and this, I hereby guarantee. The work is now going thro' the press, & I think I shall be able to send it to you in the course of three weeks or so. It will readily make two volumes got up in your style, as I have enlarged it somewhat to the size of "Omoo"--perhaps it may be a trifle larger. Notwithstanding that recent decision of your courts of law, I can hardly imagine that it will occasion any serious infringement of any rights you have in any American book.l And ere long, doubtless, we shall have something of an international law--so much desired by all American writers--which shall settle this matter upon the basis of justice. The only marvel is, that it does not now exist. The copies of "Mardi" have not yet come to hand, tho' I sent to the Harnden & Co, to inquire.

Yours Sincerely

H Melville. Richard Bentley Esq New Burlington Street


New York, August Dear Sir--If this letter is opened by Mr Brodhead, he will be at no loss to know what it means; since, he has most kindly furthered some affairs of mine in London. In the present case, however, all I desire, is, that the accompanying parcel for Mr Bentley the publisher, be retained at the Legation, till that gentleman calls or sends for it; which will be immediately; as he is advised of its transmission, & through what channel.-- If, however, Mr Davis should open this letter (and I do not know, exactly, which gentleman will hold the seals at the time it reaches its destination) I have then to beg a favor, of a gentleman, who is personally unacquainted with me.--Will Mr Davis be so kind, as simply to take care of the parcel, & deliver it to Mr Bentley when he calls? To Mr Brodhead, it would be unnecessary to state, that my reason for sending the parcel through the Despatch Bag (as in previous cases) is the apprehension, that if forwarded by Express, it would be almost certain of seizure, or protracted detention at the Custom House.

Very Truly

Herman Melville. The Secretary of the American Legation London.


Thursday Sept 10th My Dear Sir--In writing you the other day concerning the letters of introduction, I forgot to say, that could you conveniently procure me one from Mr Emerson to Mr Carlyle, I should be obliged to you. --We were concerned to hear that you were not entirely well, some days ago; but I hope you will bring the intelligence of your better health along with you, when you come here on that prom- ised visit, upon which you set out the day after tomorrow. Lizzie is most anxiously expecting you--but Malcolm seems to await the event with the utmost philosophy.--The weather here at present is exceedingly agreeable--quite cool, & in the morning, bracing. My best rememberances to Mrs Shaw & all.

Most Sincerely Yours

H Melville If, besides a letter to Mr Carlyle, Mr Emerson could give you other letters, I should be pleased. The Board of Health have ceased making reports--the Cholera having almost entirely departed from the city.


New York Oct 6th 1849 My Dear Sir-- On Monday or Tuesday next the ship is to sail, and I must bid you the last good-bye. On looking over the letters of introduction again, I am more than ever pleased with them; & would again thank you for your kindness. A few days ago, by the way, I received a letter of introduction (thro' the post) from Mr Baldwin to his son in Paris. Lizzie is becoming more reconciled to the idea of my departure, especially as she will have Malcolm for company during my absence. And I have no doubt, that when she finds herself surrounded by her old friends in Boston, she will bear the temporary separation with more philosophy than she has anticipated. At any rate, she will be ministered to by the best of friends. It is uncertain, now, how long I may be absent; and, of course, my travels will have to be bounded by my purse & by prudential considerations. Economy, however, is my mottoe. "Redburn" was published in London on the 25th Of last month; & will come out here in the course of two weeks or so. The other book I have now in plate-proofs, all ready to go into my trunk. For Redburn I anticipate no particular reception of any kind. It may be deemed a book of tolerable entertainment;--& may be accounted dull.--As for the other book, it will be sure to be attacked in some quarters. But no reputation that is gratifying to me, can possibly be achieved by either of these books. They are two jobs, which I have done for money--being forced to it, as other men are to sawing wood. And while I have felt obliged to refrain from writing the kind of book I would wish to; yet, in writing these two books, I have not repressed myself much--so far as they are concerned; but have spoken pretty much as I feel.-- Being books, then, written in this way, my only desire for their "success" (as it is called) springs from my pocket, & not from my heart. So far as I am individually concerned, & independent of my pocket, it is my earnest desire to write those sort of books which are said to "fail."--Pardon this egotism. Mama has quite recovered from her temporary indisposition; & all the family are well. They beg to be most kindly remembered to yourself, & Mrs Shaw, & all. Add my own best rememberances to theirs, and beleive me, My Dear Sir,

Sincerely Yours

H Melville. Chief Justice Shaw. If you please, bid Mrs Sullivan good bye for me.

6 OCTOBER 1849

New York Oct 6th 1849. My Dear Mr Dana--If I have till now deferred answering your very kind letter by Judge Shaw, it has been only, that I might give additional emphasis to my reply, by leaving it to the eve of my departure. Your letter to Mr Moxon is most welcome. From his connection with Lamb, & what I have chanced to hear of his personal character, he must be a very desirable acquaintance.--Your hint concerning a man-of-war has, in anticipation, been acted on. A printed copy of the book is before me. As it will not appear for some two or three months, may I beg of you, that you will consider this communication confidential? The reason is obvious. This man-of-war book, My Dear Sir, is in some parts rather man-of-warish in style--rather aggressive I fear.--But you, who like myself, have experienced in person the usages to which a sailor is subjected, will not wonder, perhaps, at any thing in the book. Would to God, that every man who shall read it, had been before the mast in an armed ship, that he might know something him- self of what he shall only read of.--I shall be away, in all prob- ability, for some months after the publication of the book. If it is taken hold of in an unfair or ignorant way; & if you should possibly think, that from your peculiar experiences in sea-life, you would be able to say a word to the purpose--may I hope that you will do so, if you can spare the time, & are generous enough to bestow the trouble?--Your name would do a very great deal; but if you choose to keep that out of sight in the matter, well & good.--Be not alarmed,--I do not mean to bore you with a request to do any thing in this thing--only this: if you feel so inclined, do it, & God bless you. Accept my best thanks for your kindness & believe me fraternally Yours--a sea-brother--

H Melville. Richard H Dana Jr Esq.

A little nursery tale of mine (which, possibly, you may have seen advertised as in press) called "Redburn" is not the book to which I refer above.

10 OCTOBER 1849

Wednesday Evening

My Dear Duyckinck Having taken so dramatic a farewell of my kindred this morning, and finding myself among them again this evening, I feel almost as if I had indeed accomplished the tour of Europe, & been absent a twelvemonth;--so that I must spend my first evening of arrival at my own fireside. Release me from my promise then, and save what you were going to tell me till tomorrow when we glide down the bay.

Herman Melville.

2 AND 14 DECEMBER 1849

Paris Dec 2d 1849 My Dear Mr Duycknk, I could almost whip myself that after receiving your most kind & friendly letter, I should suffer so long an interval to go by without answering it. But what can you expect of me? I have served persons the nearest to me in like manner. Traveling takes the ink out of one's pen as well as the cash out of one's purse.-- Thank you for the papers you sent me. --The other evening I went to see Rachel--& having taken my place in the "que" (how the devel do you spell it?) or tail--& having waited there for full an hour--upon at last arriving at the ticket-box--the woman there closed her little wicket in my face-- & so the "tail" was cut off. --Now my travelling "tail" has been cut off in like manner, by the confounded state of the Copyright question in England. It has prevented me from receiving an immediate supply of cash-- I am going home within three weeks or so.--But I have not failed to enjoy myself & learn somewhat, notwithstanding. Give my best remembrances to your brother. Tell him I stumbled upon an acquaintance of his--a book dealer in the Strand. Tell him that Davidson proved a good fellow, & that we took some punch together at the Blue Posts.--Mr Delf I was not so happy as to see when I called there. But I may see him on my return. My compliments to Mrs Duycknck & all your pleasant family, & Beleive me Sincerely yours

H Melville.

London, Dec 14, 49. My Dear Duycknck--I meant to send this to you by a Havre packet--but learning more about her--did not. So I have kept the note by me, & send it to you now with a supplement, a sequel, & my "last convictions," which as an author, you will duly value. --I sail hence on the 21st Inst:--and am only detained now by reason of some business. Yesterday being at Mr Bentley's I enquired for his copies of the last "Literary Worlds"--but they had been sent on to Brighton--so I did not see your say about the book Redburn, which to my surprise (somewhat) seems to have been favorably received. I am glad of it--for it puts money into an empty purse. But I hope I shall never write such a book again--Tho' when a poor devil writes with duns all round him, & looking over the back of his chair--& perching on his pen & diving in his inkstand--like the devils about St: Anthony--what can you expect of that poor devil?--What but a beggarly "Redburn!" And when he attempts anything higher--God help him & save him! for it is not with a hollow purse as with a hollow balloon --for a hollow purse makes the poet sink--witness "Mardi" But we that write & print have all our books predestinated --& for me, I shall write such things as the Great Publisher of Mankind ordained ages before he published "The World"-- this planet, I mean--not the Literary Globe.--What a madness & anguish it is, that an author can never--under no conceivable circumstances--be at all frank with his readers.--Could I, for one, be frank with them--how would they cease their railing--those at least who have railed.--In a little notice of "The Oregon Trail" I once said something "critical" about another's man's book--I shall never do it again. Hereafter I shall no more stab at a book (in print, I mean) than I would stab at a man.--I am but a poor mortal, & I admit that I learn by experience & not by divine intuitions. Had I not written & published "Mardi," in all likelihood, I would not be as wise as I am now, or may be. For that thing was stabbed at (I do not say through)--& therefore, I am the wiser for it.--But a bit of note paper is not large enough for this sort of writing--so no more of it. Pardon it, & know me to be yours,

H Melville.

I this morning did myself the pleasure of calling on Mrs: Daniel for the first. I saw her, & also two very attractive young ladies. Had you seen those young ladies, you would have never told Mrs: Duycknk of it. You must on no account tell Mrs Welford of this; for those nymphs were her sisters.

H. M.

14 DECEMBER 1849

I very much doubt whether Gabriel enters the portals of Heaven without a fee to Peter the porter--so impossible is it to travel without money. Some people (999 in 1000) are very unaccountably shy about confessing to a want of money, as the reason why they do not do this or that; but, for my part, I think it such a capital clincher of a reason for not doing a thing, that I out with it, at once--for, who can gainsay it? And, what more satisfactory or unanswerable reason can a body give, I should like to know Besides--tho' there are numbers of fine fellows, and hearts of blood, in the world, whom Providence hath blessed with purses furlongs in length--yet the class of wealthy people are, in the aggregate, such a mob of gilded dunces, that, not to be wealthy carries with it a certain distinction & nobility.


Saturday Evening, Feb 2d My Dear Duyckinck--Tho' somewhat unusual for a donor, I must beg to apologize for making you the accompanying present of "Mardi." But no one who knows your library can doubt, that such a choice conservatory of exotics & other rare things in literature, after being long enjoyed by yourself, must, to a late posterity, be preserved intact by your descendants. How natural then--tho' vain--in your friend to desire a place in it for a plant, which tho' now unblown (emblematicaly, the leaves, you perceive, are uncut) may possibly--by some miracle, that is--flower like the aloe, a hundred years hence--or not flower at all, which is more likely by far, for some aloes never flower.

Again: (as the divines say) political republics should be the asylum for the persecuted of all nations; so, if Mardi be admitted to your shelves, your bibliographical Republic of Letters may find some contentment in the thought, that it has afforded refuge to a work, which almost everywhere else has been driven forth like a wild, mystic Mormon into shelterless exile.

--The leaves, I repeat, are uncut--let them remain so--and let me supplementaryly hint, that a bit of old parchment (from some old Arabic M.S.S. on Astrology) tied round each volume, & sealed on the back with a Sphynx, & never to be broken till the aloe flowers--would not be an unsuitable device for the book-binders of "Mardi."--That book is a sort of dose, if you please-- (tho', in the present case, charitably administered in three parts, instead of two) and by way of killing the flavor of it, I hurry to follow it up with a fine old spicy duodecimo mouthful in the shape of "Hudibras" which I got particularly for yourself at Stribbs's in the Strand--& a little marvel that your brother George over- looked so enticing a little volume during his rummagings in the same shop.--Pray, glance at the title page, & tell me, if you can, what "Black Boy" that was in Paternoster Row. My curiosity is excited, and indeed aggravated & exacerbated about that young negro. Did the late Mr Baker have a small live Nubian standing at his shop door, like the moccasined Indian of our Bowery to- bacconists? I readily see the propriety of the Indian--but in that "Black Boy" I perceive no possible affinity to books--unless, by the way, Mr Baker dealt altogether in black-letter,--Thomas the Rhymer, Lydgate, & Battle Abbey Directories.--Are they not delicious, & full flavored with suggestiveness, these old fashioned London imprints?

So much for No: 1 & No: 2.--No: 3 is a bronze medal which I mean for your brother George, if he will gratify me by accepting such a trifling token of my sense of his kindness in giving me an "outfit" of guide-books. It comes from a mountainous defile of a narrow street in the Latin Quarter of Paris, where I disinterred it from an old antiquary's cellar, which I doubt not connected, somehow, with the Catacombs & the palace of Thermes.

Numbers 4 & 5 are two medals (warranted not silver) which I wish little Evert & George [Erratum: for "George" read "Henry."] to keep by way of remembrances that I remembered them, even while thirty feet under water. They come from the Thames Tunnel.

No: 6 (which brings up the rear of this valuable collection) is a bottle-stopper from Cologne, for yourself. Do not despise it-- there is a sermon in it. Shut yourself up in a closet, insert the stopper into a bottle of Sour Claret, & then study that face.

Wishing you a merry Saturday night, & a serene Sunday mor- row, I am, My Dear Duyckinck

Truly Yours

H Melville.

I return, with my best thanks, to your brother, three of the books he loaned me. I can not account for "Cruchley" 's accident in the back.--The Guide books for Northern & Central Italy are neither stolen, lost, sold, or mislaid. I will, I think, satisfactorily account for them when I see your brother. They are safe.

7 MARCH 1850[?]

Thursday Morning

My Dear Duyckinck

I hasten to return you the tickets which you were so good as to send last evening. I should have gone--as I love music--were it not that having been shut up all day, I could not stand being shut up all the evening--so I mounted my green jacket & strolled down to the Battery to study the stars.


H Melville

MAY 1850

New York May 1st 1850 My Dear Dana--I thank you very heartily for your friendly letter; and am more pleased than I can well tell, to think that any thing I have written about the sea has at all responded to your own impressions of it. Were I inclined to undue vanity, this one fact would be far more to me than acres & square miles of the superficial shallow praise of the publishing critics. And I am specially delighted at the thought, that those strange, congenial feelings, with which after my first voyage, I for the first time read "Two Years Before the Mast," and while so engaged was, as it were, tied & welded to you by a sort of Siamese link of affectionate sym- pathy--that these feelings should be reciprocated by you, in your turn, and be called out by any White Jackets or Redburns of mine--this is indeed delightful to me. In fact, My Dear Dana did I not write these books of mine almost entirely for "lucre"-- by the job, as a woodsawyer saws wood--I almost think, I should hereafter--in the case of a sea book--get my M. S. S. neatly & legibly copied by a scrivener--send you that one copy--& deem such a procedure the best publication.

You ask me about "the jacket." I answer it was a veritable garment--which I suppose is now somewhere at the bottom of Charles river. I was a great fool, or I should have brought such a remarkable fabric (as it really was, to behold) home with me. Will you excuse me from telling you--or rather from putting on pen- &-ink record over my name, the real names of the individuals who officered the frigate. I am very loath to do so, because I have never indulged in any ill-will or disrespect for them, personally; & shrink from any thing that approaches to a personal identification of them with characters that were only intended to furnish samples of a tribe--character[s], also, which possess some not wholly complimentary traits. If you think it worth knowing,--I will tell you all, when I next have the pleasure of seeing you face to face. Let me mention to you now my adventure with the letter you furnished me to Mr Moxon. Upon this, as upon some other similar occasions, I chose to waive cerimoney; and so arranged it, that I saw Mr Moxon, immediately after his reception of the letter.--I was ushered into one of those jealous, guarded sanctums, in which these London publishers retreat from the vulgar gaze. It was a small, dim, religious looking room--a very chapel to enter. Upon the coldest day you would have taken off your hat in that room, tho' there were no fire, no occupant, & you a Quaker.--You have heard, I dare say, of that Greenland whaler discovered near the Pole, adrift & silent in a calm, with the frozen form of a man seated at a desk in the cabin before an ink-stand of icy ink. Just so sat Mr Moxon in that tranced cabin of his. I bowed to the spectre, & received such a galvanic return, that I thought some- thing of running out for some officer of the Humane Society, & getting a supply of hot water & blankets to resuscitate this melan- choly corpse. But knowing the nature of these foggy English, & that they are not altogether impenetrable, I began a sociable talk, and happening to make mention of Charles Lamb, and alluding to the warmth of feeling with which that charming punster is regarded in America, Mr Moxon brightened up--grew cordial-- hearty;--& going into the heart of the matter--told me that he (Lamb) was the best fellow in the world to "get drunk with" (I use his own words) & that he had many a time put him to bed. He concluded by offering to send me a copy of his works (not Moxon's poetry, but Lambs prose) which I have by me, now. It so happened, that on the passage over, I had found a copy of Lamb in the ship's library--& not having previously read him much, I dived into him, & was delighted--as every one must be with such a rare humorist & excellent hearted man. So I was very sincere with Moxon, being fresh from Lamb. He enquired particularly concerning you--earnestly spoke in admiration of "Two Years Before the Mast"--& told me of the particular gratification it had afforded[?] particular persons of his acquaintance--including Mr Rogers, the old Nestor, who poetically appreciated the scenic sea passages, describing ice, storms, Cape Horn, & all that.

About the "whaling voyage"--I am half way in the work, am very glad that your suggestion so jumps with mine. It will be a strange sort of book, tho', I fear; blubber is blubber you know; tho' you may get oil out of it, the poetry runs as hard as sap from a frozen maple tree;--& to cook the thing up, one must needs throw in a little fancy, which from the nature of the thing must be ungainly as the gambols of the whales themselves. Yet I mean to give the truth of the thing, spite of this.

Give my compliments to Mrs Dana, and remember me to your father.

Sincerely Yours

H Melville

27 JUNE 1850

New York June 27th 1850 My Dear Sir,--In the latter part of the coming autumn I shall have ready a new work; and I write you now to propose its publication in England. The book is a romance of adventure, founded upon certain wild legends in the southern Sperm Whale Fisheries, and illustrated by the author's own personal experience, of two years & more, as a harpooneer.

Should you be inclined to undertake the book, I think that it will be worth to you 200. Could you be positively put in possession of the copyright, it might be worth to you a larger sum-- considering its great novelty; for I do not know that the subject treated of has ever been worked up by a romancer; or, indeed, by any writer, in any adequate manner.

But as things are, I say 200, because that sum was given for "White-Jacket"; and it does not appear, as yet, that you have been interfeared with in your publication of that book; & therefore there seems reason to conclude, that, at 200, "White Jacket" must have been, in some degree, profitable to you.

In case of an arrangement, I shall, of course, put you in early certain possession of the proof sheets, as in previous cases.

Being desirous of early arranging this matter in London,--so as to lose no time, when the book has passed thro' the Harpers' press here--I beg, Mr Bentley, that you at once write me as to your views concerning it.

Circumstances make it indispensable, that if the book suits you at the sum above-named, that on the day of sale, you give your note for that sum--at four months say--to whomever I depute to ratify the arrangement with you.

Will you be so good as to tell me when you write, what has been the sale of "White Jacket" thus far?--And also will you immediately send me four copies of that book & one copy of Redburn,--addressed to Harper & Brothers, New York (for me); and the parcel can be left at Sampson Low's No 169 Fleet Street, who is the Harpers' agent, & who will forward it to them.

So much for business.--I had a prosperous passage across the water last winter; & embarking from Portsmouth on Christmas morning, carried the savor of the plumb-puddings & roast turkey all the way across the Atlantic. But tho' we had a good passage, yet, the little mail of letters with which you supplied me (& by reading the superscriptions of which, I whiled away part of the voyage) hardly arrived in time to beat Her Majesty's Mail by the Cunard Steamer.

I have not forgotten the very agreeable evening I spent in New- Burlington Street last winter. Pray, remember me to Mr Bell & Alfred Crowquill when you see them. With compliments to Mrs Bentley & Miss Bentley, Beleive Me

Very Truly Yours

H Melville Richard Bentley Esq London

16 AUGUST 1850

Banian Hall Aug 16th 1850

I call it Banian Hall, My Dear Duyckinck because it seems the old original Hall of all this neighborhood--besides, it is a wide-spreading house, and the various outhouses seem shoots from it, that have taken root all round.--I write you this from the garret- way, seated at that little embrasure of a window (you must re- member it) which commands so noble a view of Saddleback.--My desk is an odd one--an old thing of my Uncle the Major's, which for twelve years back has been packed away in the corn-loft over the carriage house. Upon dragging it out to day light, I found that it was covered with the marks of fowls--quite white with them--eggs had been laid in it--think of that!--Is it not typical of those other eggs that authors may be said to lay in their desks,-- especially those with pigeon-holes?

Day before yesterday--Wednesday--I received your letter of the 13th, also Mathews', and was delighted & softened by both. But I could not avoid a real feeling of grief, to think of you, once more in those dreary regions which are Trans-Taconic to me.-- What are you doing there, My Beloved, among the bricks & cobble-stone boulders? Are you making mortar? Surely, My Beloved, you are not carrying a hod?--That were a quizzical sight, to see any godly man, with a pen behind his ear, and a hod on his shoulder. --I have a horrible presentment that you are even now hanging round the City-Hall, trying to get a contract from the Corporation to pave Broadway between Clinton Place & Union-Square. For heaven's sake, come out from among those Hittites & Hodites --give up mortar forever.--There is one thing certain, that, chem- ically speaking, mortar was the precipitate of the [?] Fall; & with a brickbat, or a cobble-stone boulder, Cain killed Abel.--Do you drink Lime-water in the morning by way of a stomachic? Do you use brick-bats for paper-weights in the office? Do you & Mathews pitch paving-stones, & play ball that way in the cool of the evening, opposite the Astor-House?----How do they sell mortar by the quart now? Cheaper than ice-cream, I suppose.--A horrible something in me tells me that you are about dipping your head in plaster at Fowler's for your bust.--But enough--the visions come too thick for me to master them. Twelve more beautiful babies than you sent me in that wicker cradle by Express, I have never seen. Uncommon intelligence was in their aspect, and they seem full of animation & hilarity. I have no doubt, if they were let alone awhile, they would all grow to be demijohns. In a word, My Dear Fellow, they were but too well thought of you,--because so much more than I deserved.

--Let me now tell you how that precious basket was carried in state to the farm--something like the Flitch of Bacon.

--A gentleman & a lady arrived here as boarders yesterday morning. In the afternoon in four carriages a party of us went to Leabanon. Returning, we stopped at the Express office in the village; and then, with the basket borne before me at my feet, I drove off full speed followed by the whole galloping procession. To day, at dinner, we cracked the Champaigne, & our first glass (all round the table) was Mr Duycknck & M~ Mathews. But the cigars!--The Oriental looking box! and the Antilles smell of them! And the four difrent thrones & dominations of bundles, all harmonizing together like the Iroquois. Had there been two more bundles, I should have called them the Six Nations.

I received the "Literary World." Under the circumstances the printing is far more correct, that [than] I expected; but there are one or two ugly errors. However, no one sees them, I suppose, but myself.--Send me the other proof, if you can; but dont, if it will be the least inconvenience. If it is a fair day, I shall drive to Hawthorne's to morrow, & deliver his parcels.--Mrs H. Melville & others too numerous to enumerate send their best remembrances to you.--When you write, tell me that you are coming on for a second visit. Dont' forget it.--Good bye

H Melville

6 OCTOBER 1850

Sunday Evening 1850. My Dear Duyckinck--I hardly thought that I should find time or even table to write you this long while. But it is Sunday at last, and after a day chiefly spent in Jacquesizing in the woods, I sit down to do what with me is an almost unexampled thing-- inditing a letter at night. It has been a most glowing & Byzantine day--the heavens reflecting the tints of the October apples in the orchard--nay, the heavens themselves looking so ripe & ruddy, that it must be harvest-time with the angels, & Charle's Wain be heaped high as Saddle-Back with Autumn's sheaves.--You should see the maples--you should see the young perennial pines--the red blasings of the one contrasting with the painted green of the others, and the wide flushings of the autumn air harmonizing both. I tell you that sunrises & sunsets grow side by side in these woods, & momentarily moult in the falling leaves.--A hammer! Yes a hammer is before me--the very one that so cruelly bruised the very finger that guides my pen. I can sentimentalise it no more.

Until to day I have been as busy as man could be. Every thing to be done, & scarcely any one to help me do it. But I trust that before a great while we shal! be all "to rights," and I shall take my ease on mine mountain. For a month to come, tho', I expect to be in the open air all day, except when assisting in lifting a bedstead or a bureau.

Thank you for your letter with the paper the other day. I am offering up devout jubilations for the abolition of the flogging law.

My love to Adler, & tell him I hope to have him behind a cigar one of these days & talk over old times. Remember me to your brother--& take this meagre letter for lack of a longer & a better one--and beleive me to be what I am

Truly Yours

H Melville.

13 DECEMBER 1850

Friday Evening (Dec 12. 1850)

Pittsfield. My Dear Duyckinck, If you overhaul your old diaries you will see that a long period ago you were acquainted with one Herman Melvill[e]; that he then resided in New York; but removing after a time into a remote region called Berkshire, and failing to answer what letters you sent him, you but reasonably supposed him dead; at any rate did not hear anything of him again, & so by degrees you thought no more about him.

I now write to inform you that this man has turned up--in short, My Dear Fellow in spite of my incivility I am alive & well, & would fain be remembered.

Before I go further let me say here that I am writing this by candle light--an uncommon thing with me--& therefore my writing wont be very legible, because I am keeping one eye shut & wink at the paper with the other.

If you expect a letter from a man who lives in the country you must make up your mind to receive an egotistical one--for he has no gossip nor news of any kind, unless his neighbor's cow has calved or the hen has laid a silver egg.--By the way, this reminds me that one of my neighbors has really met with a bad accident in the loss of a fine young colt. That neighbor is our friend Mrs Morewood. Mr Doolittle--my cousin--was crossing the R.R. track yesterday (where it runs thro the wooded part of the farm.) in his slay--sleigh I mean--and was followed by all three of Mrs Morewood's horses (they running at large for the sake of the air & exercise). Well: just as Doolittle got on the track with his vehicle, along comes the Locomotive--whereupon Doolittle whips up like mad & steers clear; but the frightened horses following him, they scamper off full before the engine, which hitting them right & left, tumbles one into a ditch, pitches another into a snow-bank, & chases the luckless third so hard as to come into direct contact with him, & break his leg clean into two peices.--With his leg "in splints" that is done up by the surgeon, the poor colt now lies in his straw, & the prayers of all good Christians are earnestly solicited in his behalf. Certainly, considering the bounding spirit and full-blooded life in that colt--how it might for many a summer have sported in pastures of red clover & gone cantering merrily along the "Gulf Road" with a sprightly Mrs Morewood on his back, patting his neck & lovingly talking to him--considering all this, I say, I really think that a broken leg for him is not one jot less bad than it would be for me--tho' I grant you, even as it is with him, he has one more leg than I have now.

I have a sort of sea-feeling here in the country, now that the ground is all covered with snow. I look out of my window in the morning when I rise as I would out of a port-hole of a ship in the Atlantic. My room seems a ship's cabin; & at nights when I wake up & hear the wind shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, & I had better go on the roof & rig in the chimney.

Do you want to know how I pass my time?--I rise at eight-- thereabouts--& go to my barn--say good-morning to the horse, & give him his breakfast. (It goes to my heart to give him a cold one, but it can't be helped) Then, pay a visit to my cow--cut up a pumpkin or two for her, & stand by to see her eat it--for it's a pleasant sight to see a cow move her jaws--she does it so mildly & with such a sanctity.--My own breakfast over, I go to my work- room & light my fire--then spread my M.S.S on the table--take one business squint at it, & fall to with a will. At 2 1/2 P.M. I hear a preconcerted knock at my door, which (by request) continues till I rise & go to the door, which serves to wean me effectively from my writing, however interested I may be. My friends the horse & cow now demand their dinner--& I go & give it them. My own dinner over, I rig my sleigh & with my mother or sisters start off for the village--& if it be a Literary World day, great is the satis- faction thereof.--My evenings I spend in a sort of mesmeric state in my room--not being able to read--only now & then skimming over some large-printed book.--Can you send me about fifty fast-writing youths, with an easy style & not averse to polishing their labors? If you can, I wish you would, because since I have been here I have planned about that number of future works & cant find enough time to think about them separately.--But I dont know but a book in a man's brain is better off than a book bound in calf--at any rate it is safer from criticism. And taking a book off the brain, is akin to the ticklish & dangerous business of taking an old painting off a panel--you have to scrape off the whole brain in order to get at it with due safety--& even then, the paint- ing may not be worth the trouble.--I meant to have left more room for somethin~ else besides my own concerns. But I cant help it.--I see Adler is at work--or has already achieved a German translation. I am glad to hear it. Remember me to him.

--In the country here, I begin to appreciate the Literary World. I read it as a sort of private letter from you to me.

Remember me to your brother. My respects to Mrs Duyckinck & all your family. The "sad" young lady desires[?] her regards.

H Melville. Mrs Melville with Malcolm is in Boston--or that lady would send her particular regards.

29 JANUARY? 1851

Pittsfield, Wednesday, That side-blow thro' Mrs Hawthorne will not do. I am not to be charmed out of my promised pleasure by any of that lady's syrenisims. You, Sir, I hold accountable, & the visit (in all its original integrity) must be made.--What! sperld the day, only with us?--A Greenlander might as well talk of spending the day with a friend, when the day is only half an inch long.

As I said before, my best travelling chariot on runners, will be at your door, & provision made not only for the accommodation of all your family, but also for any quantity of baggage.

Fear not that you will cause the slightest trouble to us. Your bed is already made, & the wood marked for your fire. But a moment ago, I looked into the eyes of two fowls, whose tail feathers have been notched, as destined victims for the table. I keep the word "Welcome" all the time in my mouth, so as to be ready on the instant when you cross the threshold.

(By the way the old Romans you know had a Salve carved in their thresholds)

Another thing, Mr Hawthorne--Do not think you are coming to any prim nonsensical house--that is nonsensical in the ordinary way. You must be much bored with punctilios. You may do what you please--say or say not what you please. And if you feel any inclination for that sort of thing--you may spend the period of your visit in bed, if you like--every hour of your visit.

Mark--There is some excellent Montado Sherry awaiting you & some most potent Port. We will have mulled wine with wisdom, & buttered toast with story-telling & crack jokes & bottles from morning till night.

Come--no nonsence. If you dont--I will send Constables after you.

On Wednesday then--weather & sleighing permitting I will be down for you about eleven o'clock A. M.

By the way--should Mrs Hawthorne for any reason conclude that she, for one, can not stay overnight with us--then you must-- & the children, if you please.

H Melville.

12 FEBRUARY 1851

[Embossed trademark "CARSON S / DALTON MS"]--about 5 miles from here, North East. I went there & got a sleigh-load of this paper. A great neighborhood for authors, you see, is Pittsfield.

Pittsfield, Wednesday, 1851. My Dear Duyckinck, "A dash of salt spray"!--where am I to get salt spray here in inland Pittsfield? I shall have to import it from foreign parts. All I now have to do with salt, is when I salt my horse & cow--not salt them down--I dont mean that (tho' indeed I have before now dined on "salt-horse") but when I give them their weekly salt, by way of seasoning all their week's meals in one prospective lump.

How shall a man go about refusing a man?--Best be round-about, or plumb on the mark?--I can not write the thing you want. I am in the humor to lend a hand to a friend, if I can;--but I am not in the humor to write the kind of thing you need--and I am not in the humor to write for Holden's Magazine. If I were to go on to give you all my reasons--you would pronounce [?] me a bore, so I will not do that. You must be content to beleive that I have reasons, or else I would not refuse so small a thing.--As for the Daguerreotype (I spell the word right from your sheet) that's what I can not send you, because I have none. And if I had, I would not send it for such a purpose, even to you. -Pshaw! you cry--& so cry I.--"This is intensified vanity, not true modesty or anything of that sort!"--Again, I say so too. But if it be so, how can I help it. The fact is, almost everybody is having his "mug" engraved nowadays; so that this test of distinction is getting to be reversed; and therefore, to see one's "mug" in a magazine, is presumptive evidence that he's a nobody. So being as vain a man as ever lived; & beleiving that my illustrious name is famous throughout the world--I respectfully decline being oblivionated by a Daguerretype (what a devel of an unspellable word?)

We are all queer customers, Mr Duycknk, you, I, & every body else in the world. So if I here seem queer to you, be sure, I am not alone in my queerness, tho' it present itself at a different port, perhaps, from other people, since every one has his own distinct peculiarity. But I trust you take me aright. If you dont' I shall be sorry--that's all.

After a long procrastination, I drove down to see Mr Hawthorne a couple of weeks ago. I found him, of course, buried in snow; & the delightful scenery about him, all wrapped up & tucked away under a napkin, as it were. He was to have made me a day's visit, & I had promised myself much pleasure in getting him up in my snug room here, & discussing the Universe with a bottle of brandy & cigars. But he has not been able to come, owing to sickness in his family.--or else, he's up to the lips in the Universe again.

By the way, I have recently read his "Twice Told Tales" (I hadnt read but a few of them before) I think they far exceed the "Mosses"--they are, I fancy, an earlier vintage from his vine. Some of those sketches are wonderfully subtle. Their deeper meanings are worthy of a Brahmin. Still there is something lacking--a good deal lacking--to the plump sphericity of the man. What is that?

--He does'nt patronise the butcher--he needs roast-beef, done rare.--Nevertheless, for one, I regard Hawthorne (in his books) as evincing a quality of genius, immensely loftier, & more profound, too, than any other American has shown hitherto in the printed form. Irving is a grasshopper to him--putting the souls of the two men together, I mean.--But I must close. Enclosed is note from the "Sad One."

With remembrances to your brother, I am

Truly Yours

H Melville.

5. PM. Wednesday.

I am just on the point of starting a' foot for the village, and have glanced over the previous letter, before, sealing.--I thought there seemed an unkindness in it--& that had I, under the circumstances, rec'd such a letter from you, in reply to such a letter as yours to me--I would deem it not well of you.--Still, I can't help it--and I may yet be of some better service to you than merely jotting a paragraph for Holden's.--

My respects to Mrs Duyckinck. Jog Adler's memory about me now & then.--The society here is very much pleased with Leigh Hunt's magazine.--What a quizzical thing that is of the Duel--the man who was wounded in certain important parts.

Adieu again.

H. M.

26 MARCH 1851

Pittsfield, Wednesday. 1851

My Dear Duyckinck--I have just returned from Springfield, having accompanied an old friend of mine, Mr J. M. Fly, so far on his way to Brattleboro'. He has long been a confirmed invalid, & in some small things I act a little as his agent. He subscribed, thro' me, to the "Literary World" & paid something in advance. He will remain in Brattleboro' through the summer. Will you have his paper sent to him there instead of Greenbush. And also will you send him the Dollar Magazine. And when I get to New York, the subscription to both will be duly paid. Send him the March Number of the "Dollar"

The Spring begins to open upon Pittsfield, but slowly. I only wish that I had more day-time to spend out in the day; but like an owl I steal abroad by twilight, owing to the twilight of my eyes.

Remember me kindly to your Brother & to Adler.

H Melville

16? APRIL? 1851

Pittsfield, Wednesday morning.

My Dear Hawthorne,--Concerning the young gentleman's shoes, I desire to say that a pair to fit him, of the desired pattern, can-not be had in all Pittsfield,--a fact which sadly impairs that metropolitan pride I formerly took in the capital of Berkshire. Henceforth Pittsfield must hide its head. However, if a pair of bootees will at all answer, Pittsfield will be very happy to provide them. Pray mention all this to Mrs. Hawthorne, and command me.

"The House of the Seven Gables: A Romance. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. One vol. 16mo, pp. 344." The contents of this book do not belie its rich, clustering, romantic title. With great enjoyment we spent almost an hour in each separate gable. This book is like a fine old chamber, abundantly, but still judiciously, furnished with precisely that sort of furniture best fitted to furnish it. There are rich hangings, wherein are braided scenes from tragedies! There is old china with rare devices, set out on the carved buffet; there are long and indolent lounges to throw yourself upon; there is an admirable sideboard, plentifully stored with good viands; there is a smell as of old wine in the pantry; and finally, in one corner, there is a dark little black-letter volume in golden clasps, entitled "Hawthorne: A Problem." It has delighted us; it has piqued a re-perusal; it has robbed us of a day, and made us a present of a whole year of thoughtfulness; it has bred great exhilaration and exultation with the remembrance that the architect of the Gables resides only six miles off, and not three thousand miles away, in England, say. We think the book, for pleasantness of running interest, surpasses the other works of the author. The curtains are more drawn; the sun comes in more; genialities peep out more. Were we to particularize what most struck us in the deeper passages, we would point out the scene where Clifford, for a moment, would fain throw himself forth from the window to join the procession; or the scene where the judge is left seated in his ancestral chair. Clifford is full of an awful truth throughout. He is conceived in the finest, truest spirit. He is no caricature. He is Clifford. And here we would say that, did circumstances permit, we should like nothing better than to devote an elaborate and careful paper to the full consideration and analysis of the purport and significance of what so strongly characterizes all of this author's writings. There is a certain tragic phase of humanity which, in our opinion, was never more powerfully embodied than by Hawthorne. We mean the tragicalness of human thought in its own unbiassed, native, and profounder workings. We think that into no recorded mind has the intense feeling of the visable truth ever entered more deeply than into this man's. By visable truth, we mean the apprehension of the absolute condition of present things as they strike the eye of the man who fears them not, though they do their worst to him,--the man who, like Russia or the British Empire, declares himself a sovereign nature (in himself) amid the powers of heaven, hell, and earth. He may perish; but so long as he exists he insists upon treating with all Powers upon an equal basis. If any of those other Powers choose to withhold certain secrets, let them; that does not impair my sovereignty in myself; that does not make me tributary. And perhaps, after all, there is no secret. We incline to think that the Problem of the Universe is like the Freemason's mighty secret, so terrible to all children. It turns out, at last, to consist in a triangle, a mallet, and an apron,--nothing morel We incline to think that God cannot explain His own secrets, and that He would like a little information upon certain points Himself. We mortals astonish Him as much as He us. But it is this Being of the matter; there lies the knot with which we choke ourselves. As soon as you say Me, a God, a Nature, so soon you jump off from your stool and hang from the beam. Yes, that word is the hangman. Take God out of the dictionary, and you would have Him in the street.

There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says No! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes. For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,--why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag,--that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn theml they will never get through the Custom House. What's the reason, Mr. Hawthorne, that in the last stages of metaphysics a fellow always falls to swearing so? I could rip an hour. You see, I began with a little criticism extracted for your benefit from the "Pittsfield Secret Review," and here I have landed in Africa. Walk down one of these mornings and see me. No nonsense; come. Remember me to Mrs. Hawthorne and the children.

H. Melville.

P.S. The marriage of Phoebe with the daguerreotypist is a fine stroke, because of his turning out to be a Maule. If you pass Hepzibah's cent-shop, buy me a Jim Crow (fresh) and send it to me by Ned Higgins.

1? JUNE 1851

My Dear Hawthorne,--I should have been rumbling down to you in my pine-board chariot a long time ago, were it not that for some weeks past I have been more busy than you can well imagine, --out of doors,--building and patching and tinkering away in all directions. Besides, I had my crops to get in,--corn and potatoes (I hope to show you some famous ones by and by),--and many other things to attend to, all accumulating upon this one particular season. I work myself; and at night my bodily sensations are akin to those I have so often felt before, when a hired man, doing my day's work from sun to sun. But I mean to continue visiting you until you tell me that my visits are both supererogatory and superfluous. With no son of man do I stand upon any etiquette or ceremony, except the Christian ones of charity and honesty. I am told, my fellow-man, that there is an aristocracy of the brain. Some men have boldly advocated and asserted it. Schiller seems to have done so, though I don't know much about him.7 At any rate, it is true that there have been those who, while earnest in behalf of political equality, still accept the intellectual estates. And I can well perceive, I think, how a man of superior mind can, by its intense cultivation, bring himself, as it were, into a certain spontaneous aristocracy of feeling,--exceedingly nice and fastidious,--similar to that which, in an English Howard, conveys a torpedo-fish thrill at the slightest contact with a social plebeian.8 So, when you see or hear of my ruthless democracy on all sides, you may possibly feel a touch of a shrink, or something of that sort. It is but nature to be shy of a mortal who boldly declares that a thief in jail is as honorable a personage as Gen. George Washington. This is ludicrous. But Truth is the silliest thing under the sun. Try to get a living by the Truth--and go to the Soup Societies. Heavens! Let any clergyman try to preach the Truth from its very stronghold, the pulpit, and they would ride him out of his church on his own pulpit bannister. It can hardly be doubted that all Reformers are bottomed upon the truth, more or less; and to the world at large are not reformers almost universally laughing-stocks? Why so? Truth is ridiculous to men. Thus easily in my room here do I, conceited and garrulous, reverse the test of my Lord Shaftesbury.

It seems an inconsistency to assert unconditional democracy in all things, and yet confess a dislike to all mankind--in the mass. But not so.--But it's an endless sermon,--no more of it. I began by saying that the reason I have not been to Lenox is this,--in the evening l feel completely done up, as the phrase is, and incapable of the long jolting to get to your house and back. In a week or so, I go to New York, to bury myself in a third-story room, and work and slave on my "Whale" while it is driving through the press. That is the only way I can finish it now,--I am so pulled hither and thither by circumstances. The calm, the coolness, the silent grass-growing mood in which a man ought always to compose,--that, I fear, can seldom be mine. Dollars damn me; and the malicious Devil is forever grinning in upon me, holding the door ajar. My dear Sir, a presentiment is on me,--I shall at last be worn out and perish, like an old nutmeg-grater, grated to pieces by the constant attrition of the wood, that is, the nutmeg. What I feel most moved to write, that is banned,--it will not pay. Yet, altogether, write the other way I cannot. So the product is a final hash, and all my books are botches. I'm rather sore, perhaps, in this letter; but see my hand!--four blisters on this palm, made by hoes and hammers within the last few days. It is a rainy morning; so I am indoors, and all work suspended. I feel cheerfully disposed, and therefore I write a little bluely. Would the Gin were herel If ever, my dear Hawthorne, in the eternal times that are to come, you and I shall sit down in Paradise, in some little shady corner by ourselves; and if we shall by any means be able to smuggle a basket of champagne there (I won't believe in a Temperance Heaven), and if we shall then cross our celestial legs in the celestial grass that is forever tropical, and strike our glasses and our heads together, till both musically ring in concert,--then, O my dear fellow-mortal, how shall we pleasantly discourse of all the things manifold which now so distress us,--when all the earth shall be but a reminiscence, yea, its final dissolution an antiquity. Then shall songs be composed as when wars are over; humorous, comic songs,--"Oh, when I lived in that queer little hole called the world," or, "Oh, when I toiled and sweated below," or, "Oh, when I knocked and was knocked in the fight"--yes, let us look forward to such things. Let us swear that, though now we sweat, yet it is because of the dry heat which is indispensable to the nourishment of the vine which is to bear the grapes that are to give us the champagne hereafter.

But I was talking about the "Whale." As the fishermen say, "he's in his flurry" when I left him some three weeks ago. I'm going to take him by his jaw, however, before long, and finish him up in some fashion or other. What's the use of elaborating what, in its very essence, is so short-lived as a modern book? Though I wrote the Gospels in this century, I should die in the gutter. --I talk all about myself, and this is selfishness and egotism. Granted. But how help it? I am writing to you; I know little about you, but something about myself. So I write about myself,--at least, to you. Don't trouble yourself, though, about writing; and don't trouble yourself about visiting; and when you do visit, don't trouble yourself about talking. I will do all the writing and visiting and talking myself.--By the way, in the last "Dollar Magazine" I read "The Unpardonable Sin." 1 He was a sad fellow, that Ethan Brand. I have no doubt you are by this time responsible for many a shake and tremor of the tribe of "general readers." It is a frightful poetical creed that the cultivation of the brain eats out the heart. But it's my prose opinion that in most cases, in those men who have finc brains and work them well, the heart extends down to hams. And though you smoke them with the fire of tribulation, yet, like veritable hams, the head only gives the richer and the better flavor. I stand for the heart. To the dogs with the head! I had rather be a fool with a heart, than Jupiter Olympus with his head. The reason the mass of men fear God, and at bottom dislike Him, is because they rather distrust His heart, and fancy Him all brain like a watch. (You perceive I employ a capital initial in the pronoun referring to the Deity; don't you think there is a slight dash of flunkeyism in that usage?) Another thing. I was in New York for four-and-twenty hours the other day, and saw a portrait of N.H. And I have seen and heard many flattering (in a publisher's point of view) allusions to the "Seven Gables." And I have seen "Tales," and "A New Volume" announced, by N.H.2 So upon the whole, I say to myself, this N.H. is in the ascendant. My dear Sir, they begin to patronize. All Fame is patronage. Let me be infamous: there is no patronage in that. What "reputation" H.M. has is horrible. Think of it! To go down to posterity is bad enough, any way; but to go down as a "man who lived among the cannibals"! When I speak of posterity, in reference to myself, I only mean the babies who will probably be born in the moment immediately ensuing upon my giving up the ghost. I shall go down to some of them, in all likelihood. "Typee" will be given to them, perhaps, with their gingerbread. I have come to regard this matter of Fame as the most transparent of all vanities. I read Solomon more and more, and every time see deeper and deeper and unspeakable meanings in him.3 I did not think of Fame, a year ago, as I do now. My development has been all within a few years past. I am like one of those seeds taken out of the Egyptian Pyramids, which, after being three thousand years a seed and nothing but a seed, being planted in English soil, it developed itself, grew to greenness, and then fell to mould.4 So I. Until I was twenty-five, I had no development at all. From my twenty-fifth year I date my life. Three weeks have scarcely passed, at any time between then and now, that I have not unfolded within myself. But I feel that I am now come to the inmost leaf of the bulb, and that shortly the flower must fall to the mould. It seems to me now that Solomon was the truest man who ever spoke, and yet that he a little managed the truth with a view to popular conservatism; or else there have been many corruptions and interpolations of the text.--In reading some of Goethe's sayings, so worshipped by his votaries, I came across this, "Live in the all." 5 That is to say, your separate identity is but a wretched one, --good; but get out of yourself, spread and expand yourself, and bring to yourself the tinglings of life that are felt in the flowers and the woods, that are felt in the planets Saturn and Venus, and the Fixed Stars. What nonsense! Here is a fellow with a raging toothache. "My dear boy," Goethe says to him, "you are sorely afflicted with that tooth; but you must live in the all, and then you will be happy!" As with all great genius, there is an immense deal of flummery in Goethe, and in proportion to my own contact with him, a monstrous deal of it in me.

H. Melville.

P.S. "Amen!" saith Hawthorne.

N.B. This "all" feeling, though, there is some truth in. You must often have felt it, lying on the grass on a warm summer's day. Your legs seem to send out shoots into the earth. Your hair feels like leaves upon your head. This is the all feeling. But what plays the mischief with the truth is that men will insist upon the universal application of a temporary feeling or opinion.

P.S. You must not fail to admire my discretion in paying the postage on this letter.

29 JUNE 1851

Pittsfield June 29th 185[1]

My dear Hawthorne--The clear air and open window invite me to write to you. For some time past I have been so busy with a thousand things that I have almost forgotten when I wrote you last, and whether I received an answer. This most persuasive season has now for weeks recalled me from certain crotchetty and over dole-ful chimearas, the like of which men like you and me and some others, forming a chain of God's posts round the world, must be content to encounter now and then, and fight them the best way we can. But come they will,--for, in the boundless, trackless, but still glorious wild wilderness through which these outposts run, the Indians do sorely abound, as well as the insignificant but still stinging mosquitoes. Since you have been here, I have been building some shanties of houses (connected with the old one) and likewise some shanties of chapters and essays. I have been plowing and sowing and raising and painting and printing and praying,--and now begin to come out upon a less bustling time, and to enjoy the calm prospect of things from a fair piazza at the north of the old farm house here.

Not entirely yet, though, am I without something to be urgent with. The "Whale" is only half through the press; for, wearied with the long delay of the printers, and disgusted with the heat and dust of the babylonish brick-kiln of New York, I came back to the country to feel the grass--and end the book reclining on it, if I may.--I am sure you will pardon this speaking all about myself, --for if I say so much on that head, be sure all the rest of the world are thinking about themselves ten times as much. Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses,--for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it,--not in [a] set way and ostentatiously, though, but incidentally and without premeditation.--But I am falling into my old foible--preaching. I am busy, but shall not be very long. Come and spend a day here, if you can and want to; if not, stay in Lenox, and God give you long life. When I am quite free of my present engagements, r I am going to treat myself to a ride and a visit to you. Have ready a bottle of brandy, because I always feel like drinking that heroic drink when we talk on to logical heroics together. This is rather a crazy letter in some respects, I apprehend. If so, ascribe it to the intoxicating effects of the latter end of June operating upon a very susceptible and peradventure feeble temperament.

Shall I send you a fin of the Whale by way of a specimen mouthful? The tail is not yet cooked--though the hell-fire in which the whole book is broiled might not unreasonably have cooked it all ere this. This is the book's motto (the secret one),--Ego non baptiso te in nomine--but make out the rest yourself.

H. M.

20 JULY 1851

Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Mass:

July 20th 1851

My Dear Sir--I promptly received your note of the 3d Inst: in reply to mine concerning the publication of my new book.

I accept your offer for the work; but not without strong hope that before long, we shall be able to treat upon a firmer basis than now, & heretofore; & that with the more assurance you will be disposed to make overtures for American books. And here let me say to you,--since you are peculiarly interested in the matter--that in all reasonable probability no International Copyright will ever be obtained--in our time, at least--if you Englishmen wait at all for the first step to be taken in this country. Who have any motive in this country to bestir themselves in this thing? Only the authors.--Who are the authors?--A handful. And what influence have they to bring to bear upon any question whose settlement must necessarily assume a political form?--They can bring scarcely any influence whatever. This country & nearly all its affairs are governed by sturdy backwoodsmen--noble fellows enough, but not at all literary, & who care not a fig for any authors except those who write those most saleable of all books nowadays --i e--the newspapers, & magazines. And tho' the number of cultivated, catholic men, who may be supposed to feel an interest in a national literature, is large & every day growing larger; yet they are nothing in comparison with the overwhelming majority who care nothing about it. This country is at present engaged in furnishing material for future authors; not in encouraging its living ones.

Nevertheless, if this matter by any means comes to be made nationally conspicuous; and if you in England come out ma,,nanimously, & protect a foreign author; then there is that sort of stuff in the people here, which will be sure to make them all eagerness in reciprocating. For, be assured, that my countrymen will never be outdone in generosity.--Therefore, if you desire an International Copyright--hoist your flag on your side of the water, & the signal will be answered; but look for no flag on this side till then.

I am now passing thro' the press, the closing sheets of my new work; so that I shall be able to forward it to you in the course of two or three weeks--perhaps a little longer. I shall forward it to you thro' the Office of the Legation. And upon your receipt of it, I suppose you will immediately proceed to printing; as, of course, publication will not take place here, till you have made yourself safe.--You say you will give me your notes at three & six months; I infer that this means from the time of receiving the book.

Very Truly Yours

H Melville.

22 JULY 1851

Tuesday afternoon. My dear Hawthorne:

This is not a letter, or even a note--but only a passing word said to you over your garden gate. I thank you for your easy-flowing long letter (received yesterday) which flowed through me, and refreshed all my meadows, as the Housatonic--opposite me--does in reality. I am now busy with various things--not incessantly though; but enough to require my frequent tinkerings; and this is the height of the haying season, and my nag is dragging me home his winter's dinners all the time. And so, one way and another, I am not yet a disengaged man; but shall be, very soon. Meantime, the earliest good chance I get, I shall roll down to you, my good fellow, seeing we--that is, you and I--must hit upon some little bit of vagabondism, before Autumn comes. Graylock--we must go and vagabondize there. But ere we start, we must dig a deep hole, and bury all Blue Devils, there to abide till the Last Day.


his x mark.

28 JULY 1851

Pittsfield July 28th Dear Duyckinck

I do not know what little plans you & your brother may have made concerning the rest of the summer--but if it yvill not interefere with your other arrangements,--then our entire householdwill be sincerely happy to see you two here any time after next Tuesday (week from tomorrow) and the sooner after that time the better--say Wednesday.8 Come, and give yourself a week's holyday on the hay-mow. "In fact," Come.

If you will advise me of the day of your starting, I shall have our waggon at the Depot in time for you--as we are three miles from there. Mention whether you take the morning or afternoon train. I recommend, by all means, the morning train. By no means let George stay behind. If he does, I shall write to Chief of Police Matsell, to send him on.


H Melville

9 AUGUST 1851

Pittsfield. Friday. Dear Duyckinck--

Your letter to me announcing your happy arrival home; and your very acceptable present of a thermometer (which, if you will make haste to come & see it here before October, will show you that the temperature of this house's welcome has not fallen very much) both arrived here safely. The letter is in the file & the thermometer on the wall.--

We shall [be] glad to see yourself & Mr Beekman here, as soon as you please. You can stay here overnight & go to see Mr Hawthorne the next morning & come back here to a 4 or five o'clock dinner, & then be your own masters after that--for this house belongs to travellers, & we occupants but stewards.

Remember me to all.

H Melville

If you will foretell me the day & train of your coming, I shall see that you are provided with a conveyance to bring you here [hence?]

Augusta tells me to say that she has received your letter together with the Household Words, and is very much indebted to you.

12? SEPTEMBER 1851

Pittsfield, Friday Morning

If to receive some thoughtful kindness from one, upon whom self-delusion whispers we have some claims,--if this be so agreeable to us; then how far more delightful, to be the recipient of amiable oflices from one who has claims upon ourselves, not we upon them. This indeed is to sow the true seed of Christianity among all the asperities of mankind; this converts infidels, & gives misanthropy no foot to stand on.

Most considerate of all the delicate roses that diffuse their blessed perfume among men, is Mrs: Morewood; (I say it not in "bitterness"--I appeal to all the Sweet-Briars if I do;) for the little box contained nourishment for both body & soul; and the two flasks of Cologne--why, I have not done smelling of them yet.

The "Hour & the Man" is exceedingly acceptable to me. "Zanoni" is a very fine book in very fine print--but I shall endeavor to surmount that difiiculty.6 At present, however, the Fates have plunged me into certain silly thoughts and wayward speculations, which will prevent me, for a time, from falling into the reveries of these books--for a fine book is a sort of revery to us--is it not?--So I shall regard them as my Paradise in store, & Mrs Morewood the goddess from whom it comes.

Concerning my own fortheoming book--it is off my hands, but must cross the sea before publication here. Dont you buy it--dont you read it, when it does come out, because it is by no means the sort of book for you. It is not a peice of fine feminine Spital-fields silk--but is of the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships' cables & hausers. A Polar wind blows through it, & birds of prey hover over it. Warn all gentle fastidious people from so much as peeping into the book--on risk of a lumbago & sciatics.

My best remembrances and sympathy to Mrs Pollock, who, I trust, is convalescent now. Fail not to remind Miss Henderson also, that I desire she will not entirely forget me; and present my regards to Mr: Morewood.

H Melville To Mrs: Morewood Augusta tells me to remember her to you.

22 OCTOBER 1851

Wednesday 3. P.M. My Dear Sir

Your daughter is the mother of another little boy--a fine fellow--born between 1 & 2 o'clock P.M. to day. Mother & child are doing very well.

Truly Yours

H Melville


Pittsfield, Friday Afternoon.

Dear Duyckinck--Your letter received last night had a sort of stunning effect on me. For some days past being engaged in the woods with axe, wedge, & beetle, the Whale had almost completely slipped me for the time (& I was the merrier for it) when Crash! comes Moby Dick himself (as you justly say) & reminds me of what I have been about for part of the last year or two. It is really & truly a surprising coincidence--to say the least. I make no doubt it IS Moby Dick himself, for there is no account of his capture after the sad fate of the Pequod about fourteen years ago.--Ye Gods! What a Commentator is this Ann Alexander whale. What he has to say is short & pithy & very much to the point. I wonder if my evil art has raised this monster.

The Behrings Straits Disaster, too, & the cording along the New Foundland coast of those scores & scores of fishermen, and the inland gales on the Lakes. Verily the pot boileth inside & out. And woe unto us, we but live in the days that have been. Yet even then they found time to be jolly. Why did'nt you send me that inestimable item of "Herman de Wardt" before? Oh had I but had that pie to cut into! But that & many other fine things doubtless are omitted. All one can do is to pick up what chips he can buy[?] round him. They have no Vatican (as you have) in Pittsfield here.

The boy you enquire about is well. His name will probably be "Stanwix" for some account of which, Vide Stone's Life of Brandt, where mention is made of how this lad's great grandfather spent his summers in the Revolutionary War before Saratoga came into being--I mean Saratoga Springs & Pavilions.

And now what is the news with you? I suppose the Knights of the Round Table still assemble over their cigars & punch, & I know that once every week the "Literary World" revolves upon its axis. I should like to hear again the old tinkle of glasses in your basement, we may do so, before many months.

For us here, Winter is coming. The hills & the noses begin to look blue, & the trees have stripped themselves for the December tussle. I have had my dressing-gown patched up, & got some wood in the wood-house, &--by the way,--have in full blast our great dining-room fire-place, which swallows down cords of wood as a whale does boats.

Remember me to all our friends.

My compliments to Mrs Duycknk & your family

& Beleive me Thine

H Melville

17? NOVEMBER 1851

Pittsfield, Monday afternoon.

My Dear Hawthorne,--People think that if a man has undergone any hardship, he should have a reward; but for my part, if I have done the hardest possible day's work, and then come to sit down in a corner and eat my supper comfortably--why, then I don't think I deserve any reward for my hard day's work--for am I not now at peace? Is not my supper good? My peace and my supper are my reward, my dear Hawthorne. So your joy-giving and exultation-breeding letter is not my reward for my ditcher's work with that book, but is the good goddess's bonus over and above what was stipulated for--for not one man in five cycles, who is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows, or any one of them. Appreciation! Recognition! Is love appreciated? Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory--the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have our paper allegories but ill comprehended. I say your appreciation is my glorious gratuity. In my proud, humble way,--a shepherd-king,--I was lord of a little vale in the solitary Crimea; but you have now given me the crown of India. But on trying it on my head, I found it fell down on my ears, notwithstanding their asinine length--for it's only such ears that sustain such crowns.

Your letter was handed me last night on the road going to Mr. Morewood's, and I read it there. Had I been at home, I would have sat down at once and answered it. In me divine maganimities are spontaneous and instantaneous--catch them while you can. The world goes round, and the other side comes up. So now I can't write what I felt. But I felt pantheistic then--your heart beat in my ribs and mine in yours, and both in God's. A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with-you and all the gods in old Rome's ~nt~on It is a strange feeling--no hopefulness is in it, no despair. Content--that is it; and irresponsibility; but without licentious inclination. I speak now of my profoundest sense of being, not of an incidental feeling.

Whence come you, Hawthorne? By what right do you drink from my flagon of life? And when I put it to my lips--lo, they are yours and not mine. I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of feeling. Now, sympathizing with the paper, my angel turns over another page. You did not care a penny for the book. Butl now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book--and that you praised. Was it not so? You were archangel enough to despise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul. Once you hugged the ugly Socrates because you saw the flame in the mouth, and heard the rushing of the demon,--the familiar,--and recognized the sound; for you have heard it in your own solitudes.

My dear Hawthorne, the atmospheric skepticisms steal into me now, and make me doubtful of my sanity in writing you thus. But, believe me, I am not mad, most noble Festus! But truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning. Farewell. Don't write a word about the book. That would be robbing me of my miserly delight. I am heartily sorry I ever wrote anything about you--it was paltry. Lord, when shall we be done growing? As long as we have anything more to do, we have done nothing. So, now, let us add Moby Dick to our blessing, and step from that. Leviathan is not the biggest fish;--I have heard of Krakens.

This is a long letter, but you are not at all bound to answer it. Possibly, if you do answer it, and direct it to Herman Melville, you will missend it--for the very fingers that now guide this pen are not precisely the same that just took it up and put it on this paper. Lord, when shall we be done changing? Ah! it's a long stage, and no inn in sight, and night coming, and the body cold. But with you for a passenger, I am content and can be happy. I shall leave the world, I feel, with more satisfaction for having come to know you. Knowing you persuades me more than the Bible of our immortality.

What a pity, that, for your plain, bluff letter, you should get such gibberish! Mention me to Mrs. Hawthorne and to the children, and so, good-by to you, with my blessing.


P.S. I can't stop yet. If the world was entirely made up of Magians, I'll tell you what I should do. I should have a paper-mill established at one end of the house, and so have an endless riband of foolscap rolling in upon my desk; and upon that endless riband I should write a thousand--a million--billion thoughts, all under the form of a letter to you. The divine magnet is on you, and my magnet responds. Which is the biggest? A foolish question--they are One.


P.P.S. Don't think that by writing me a letter, you shall always be bored with an immediate reply to it--and so keep both of us delving over a writing-desk eternally. No such thing I sh'n't always answer your letters, and you may do just as you please.

19 DECEMBER 1851

Pittsfield Dec: 19th 1851. Rufus W Griswold Esq:

Sir,--I have been honored by receiving an official invitation to attend the Cooper Demonstration to be held in New York on the 24th Of this month.--My very considerable distance from the city, connected with other reasons, will prevent my compliance. But I rejoice that there will not be wanting many better, tho' not more zealous, men than myself, to unite on that occasion, in doing honor to a memory so very dear, not only to American Literature, but to the American Nation.

I never had the honor of knowing, or even seeing, Mr Cooper personally; so that, through my past ignorance of his person, the man, though dead, is still as living to me as ever. And this is very much; for his works are among the earliest I remember, as in my boyhood producing a vivid, and awakening power upon my mind.

It always much pained me, that for any reason, in his latter years, his fame at home should have apparently received a slight, temporary clouding, from some very paltry accidents, incident, more or less, to the general career of letters. But whatever possible things in Mr Cooper may have seemed, to have, in some degree, provoked the occasional treatment he received, it is certain, that he possessed no slightest weaknesses, but those, which are only noticeable as the almost infallible indices of pervading greatness. He was a great, robust-souled man, all whose merits are not even yet fully appreciated. But a grateful Posterity will take the best of care of Fennimore Cooper.

Assured that your Demonstration can not but prove a noble one, equally worthy of its illustrious object, & the numerous living celebrities who will partake in it,--

I am, Very Respectfully,


Herman Melville

8 JANUARY 1852

[Embossed trademark,"BATH"]

New York Jan: 8th 1852 My Dear Mrs Hawthorne

I have hunted up the finest Bath I could find, gilt-edged and stamped, whereon to inseribe my humble acknowledgment of your highly flattering letter of the 29th Dec:--It really amazed me that you should find any satisfaction in that book. It is true that some -men have said they were pleased with it, but you are the only woman--for as a general thing, women have small taste for the sea. But, then, since you, with your spiritualizing nature, see more things than other people, and by the same process, refine all you see, so that they are not the same things that other people see, but things which while you think you but humbly discover them, you do in fact create them for yourself--Therefore, upon the whole, I do not so much marvel at your expressions concerning Moby Dick. At any rate, your allusion for example to the "Spirit Spout" : first showed to me that there was a subtile significance in that thing--but I did not, in that case, mean it. I had some vague idea while writing it, that the whole book was susceptible of an allegoric construction, & also that parts of it were--but the speciality of many of the particular subordinate allegories, were first revealed to me, after reading Mr Hawthorne's letter, which, without citing any particular examples, yet intimated the part-&-parcel allegoricalness of the whole.--But, My Dear Lady, I shall not again send you a bowl of salt water. The next chalice I shall commend, will be a rural bowl of milk.

And now, how are you in West Newton? Are all domestic affairs regulated? Is Miss Una content? 5 and Master Julien satisfied with the landscape in general? And does Mr Hawthorne continue his series of calls upon all his neighbors within a radius of ten miles? Shall I send him ten packs of visiting cards? And a box of kid gloves? and the latest style of Parisian handkerchief?--He goes into society too much altogether--seven evenings out, a week, should content any reasonable man.

Now, Madam, had you not said anything about Moby Dick, & had Mr Hawthorne been equally silent, then had I said perhaps, something to both of you about another Wonder-(-full) Book. But as it is, I must be silent. How is it, that while all of us human beings are so entirely disembarrased in censuring a person; that so soon as we would praise, then we begin to feel awkward? I never blush after denouncing a man: but I grow scarlet, after eulogizing him. And yet this is all wrong; and yet we can't help it; and so we see how true was that musical sentence of the poet when he sang--

"We can't help ourselves"

For tho' we know what we ought to be; & what it would be very sweet & beautiful to be; yet we can't be it. That is most sad, too. Life is a long Dardenelles, My Dear Madam, the shores whereof are bright with flowers, which we want to pluck, but the bank is too high; & so we float on & on, hoping to come to a landing-place at last--but swoop! we launch into the great sea! Yet the geographers say, even then we must not despair, because across the great sea, however desolate & vacant it may look, lie all Persia & the delicious lands roundabout Damascus.

So wishing you a pleasant voyage at last to that sweet & far countree--

Beleive Me

Earnestly Thine--

Herman Melville

I forgot to say, that your letter was sent to me from Pittsfield-- which delayed it.

My sister Augusta begs me to send her sincerest regards both to you & Mr Hawthorne.

9? JANUARY 1852

Friday Afternoon

14 Wall Street Dear Duyckinck

I am engaged to go out of town tomorrow to be gone all day. So I wont' be able to see you at 11 O'clock as you propose. I will be glad to call though at some other time--not very remote in the future, either. The nut-crackers are very curious and duly valued.


H Melville


Pittsfield, Monday,

February 8th 1852. My Dear Master Jul[ian]

I was equally surprised and delighted by the sight of your printed note. (At first I thought it was a circular (your father will tell you what that is)). I am very happy that I have a place in the heart of so fine a little fellow[?] as you.

You tell me that the snow in Newton is very deep. Well, it is still deeper here, I fancy. I went into the woods the other day, and got so deep into the drifts among the big hemlocks & maples that I thought I should stick fast there till Spring came, [-a Snow] Image.l

Remember me kindly to your good father, Master Julian, and Good Bye, and may Heaven always bless you, & may you be a good boy and become a great good man.

Herman Melville Master Julian Hawthorne.

14 FEBRUARY 1852


Feb: 14th 1852.

Editors of Literary World:

You will please discontinue the two copies of your paper sent to J. M. Fly at Brattleboro' (or Greenbush), and to H Melville at Pittsfield.

Whatever charges there may be outstanding for either or both copies, please send them to me, & they will receive attention.

Herman Melville

16 APRIL 1852

New York April 16th 1852.

My Dear Sir:--I have deferred my reply to your last note till I could send you the book concerning which we are negotiating: that so you might be better enabled to come to a satisfactory decision upon the amended terms I am about to submit.--In the first place, however, let me say that though your statement touching my previous books do not, certainly, look very favorably for the profit side of your account; yet, would it be altogether inadmissible to suppose that by subsequent sales the balance-sheet may yet be made to wear a different aspect?--Certainly,--without reference to the possible future increased saleableness of at least some of those books, on their own independent grounds. The success, (in a business point of view) of any subsequent work of mine, published by you, would tend to react upon those previous books. And, of course, to your advantage.--I do not think that this view of the matter is unreasonable. Now, with these and other considerations in my mind, I can not possibly bring myself to accede to the overtures contained in your last note:--overtures, based upon arguments, which, as above shown, do not seem absolutely conclusive to me. And more especially am I impelled to decline those overtures upon the ground that my new book possessing unquestionable novelty, as regards my former ones,--treating of utterly new scenes & characters;--and, as I beleive, very much more calculated for popularity than anything you have yet published of mine--being a regular romance, with a mysterious plot to it, & stirring passions at work, and withall, representing a new & elevated aspect of American life--all these considerations warrant me strongly in not closing with terms greatly inferior to those upon which our previous negotiations have proceeded.--Besides,--if you please, Mr Bentley--let bygones be bygones; let those previous books, for the present, take care of themselves. For here now we have a new book, and what shall we say about this? If nothing has been made on the old books, may not something be made out of the new?--At any rate, herewith you have it. Look at it and see whether it will suit you to purchase it at the terms I shall state below. It is a larger book, by 150 pages & more, than I thought it would be, at the date of my first writing you about it. Other things being equal, this circumstance,--in your mode of publication--must of course augment its value to you.

--I can not but beleive, that as the overtures you made me in your last note were based upon an almost entire ignorance as to the character of the new book (because, you could have no means of knowing what it was going to be) now that you see it before you, you will, upon a reconsideration, be induced not to decline the ultimate terms which I here submit, as follows:--L@100 (you buying the book--for England--out-&-out) to be drawn for by me at thirty days' sight, immediately upon my being apprised of your acquiescence.--I trust that our connection will thus be made to continue, and that on the new field of productions, upon which I embark in the present work, you & I shall hereafter participate in many not unprofitable business adventures.

Very Truly Yours

Herman Melville.

P.S. If, Mr Bentley, you accede to the before-mentioned terms, you might then go on and publish without further hearing from me. For the book will reach you, I think, in the prime of the season. At all events, I shall suspend the publication at the Harpers' till I have concluded some satisfactory negotiation in London. So you may be sure that if you undertake the book, your publication will not be anticipated here by the Harpers. I send you the proofs from the type instead of the plates, for which I should have to wait some few days.

I presume that ere this sheet comes to your hand, Mr Lemuel Shaw will have arrived in London. I furnished him with a letter to you. And would here again invoke for him any attention you may be able to bestow.--

H. M.

One more P.S.--I have thought that, on several accounts, (one of which is, the rapid succession in which my works have lately been published) it might not prove unadvisable to publish this present book anonymously, or under an assumed name:[or "By Guy Winthrop."]-"By a Vermonter" say. I beg you to consider the propriety of this suggestion, but defer the final decision to your own better experience in such matters, since I am prompted in throwing out the idea, merely in regard to your advantage as publisher.


17 JULY 1852

[Embossed trademark, By the way, here's a crown. Significant

"BATH" this. Pray, allow me to place it on your with a crown above head in victorious token of your "Blithe- and two garlands dale" success. Tho' not in strict keeping, below.] I have embellished it with a plume.

Pittsfield, July 17th

My Dear Hawthorne:--This name of "Hawthorne" seems to be ubiquitous. I have been on something of a tour lately, and it has saluted me vocally & typographically in all sorts of places & in all sorts of ways.--I was at the solitary Crusoeish island of Naushon (one of the Elisabeth group) and there, on a stately piazza, I saw it gilded on the back of a very new book, and in the hands of a clergyman.8_I went to visit a gentleman in Brooklyne, and as we were sitting at our wine, in came the lady of the house, holding a beaming volume in her hand, from the city--"My Dear," to her husband, "I have brought you Hawthorne's new book." I entered the cars at Boston for this place. In came a lively boy "Hawthorne's new book!"--In good time I arrived home. Said my lady-wife "there is Mr Hawthorne's new book, come by mail" And this morning, lo! on my table a little note, subscribed Hawthorne again.--Well, the Hawthorne is a sweet flower; may it flourish in every hedge. I am sorry, but I can not at present come to see you at Concord as you propose.--I am but just returned from a two weeks' absence; and for the last three months & more I have been an utter idler and a savage--out of doors all the time. So, the hour has come for me to sit down again.

Do send me a specimen of your sand-hill, and a sunbeam from the countenance of Mrs: Hawthorne, and a vine from the curly arbor of Master Julian.

As I am only just home, I have not yet got far into the book but enough to see that you have most admirably employed materials which are richer than I had fancied them. Especially at this day, the volume is welcome, as an antidote to the mooniness of some dreamers--who are merely dreamers Yet who the devel aint a dreamer?

H Melville

My rememberances to Miss Una & Master Julian--& the "compliments" & perfumes of the season to the "Rose-bud."

13 AUGUST 1852

Pittsfield Aug: 13th 1852.

-- While visiting Nantucket some four weeks ago, I made the acquaintance of a gentleman from New Bedford, a lawyer, who gave me considerable information upon several matters concerning which I was curious.--One night we were talking, I think, of the great patience, & endurance, & resignedness of the women of the island in submitting so uncomplainingly to the long, long abscences of their sailor husbands, when, by way of anecdote, this lawyer gave me a leaf from his professional experience. Altho' his memory was a little confused with regard to some of the items of the story, yet he told me enough to awaken the most lively interest in me; and I begged him to be sure and send me a more full account so soon as he arrived home--he having previously told me that at the time of the affair he had made a record in his books.--I heard nothing more, till a few days after arriving here at Pittsfield I received thro' the Post Office the enclosed document.--You will perceive by the gentleman's note to me that he assumed that I purposed making literary use of the story; 5 but I had not hinted anything of the kind to him, & my first spontaneous interest in it arose from very different considerations. I confess, however, that since then I have a little turned the subject over in my mind with a view to a regular story to be founded on these striking incidents. But, thinking again, it has occurred to me that this thing lies very much in a vein, with which you are peculiarly familiar. To be plump, I think that in this matter you would make a better hand at it than I would.--Besides the thing seems naturally to gravitate towards you (to spea[k] . . . [half a line torn] should of right belong to you. I cou[ld] . . . [half a line torn] the Steward to deliver it to you.--

The very great interest I felt in this story while narrating to me, was heightened by the emotion of the gentleman who told it, who evinced the most unaffected sympathy in it, tho' now a matter of his past.--But perhaps this great interest of mine may have been largely helped by some accidental circumstance or other; so that, possibly, to you the story may not seem to possess so much of pathos, & so much of depth. But you will see how it is.

In estimating the character of Robinson Charity should be allowed a liberal play. I take exception to that passage from the Diary which says that "he must have received a portion of his punishment in this life"--thus hinting of a future supplemental castigation.--I do not at all suppose that his desertion of his wife was a premeditated thing. If it had been so, he would have changed his name, probably, after quitting her.--No: he was a weak man, & his temptations (tho' we know little of them) were strong. The whole sin stole upon him insensibly--so that it would perhaps have been hard for him to settle upon the exact day when he could say to himself, "Now I have deserted my wife["]; unless, indeed upon the day he wedded the Alexandran lady.--And here I am reminded of your London husband; tho' the cases so rudely contrast.--Many more things might be mentioned; but I forbear; you will find out the suggestiveness for yourself; & all the better perhaps, for my not intermeddling.--

If you should be sufficiently interested, to engage upon a regular story founded on this narration [narrative?]; then I consider you but fairly entitled to the following tributary items, collected by me, by chance, during my strolls thro the islands; & which--as you will perceive--seem legitimately to belong to the story, in its rounded & beautified & thoroughly developed state;--but of all this you must of course be your own judge--I but submit matter to you--I dont decide.

Supposing the story to open with the wreck--then there must be a storm; & it were well if some faint shadow of the preceding calm were thrown forth to lead the whole.--Now imagine a high cliff overhanging the sea & crowned with a pasture for sheep; a little way off--higher up,--a light-house, where resides the father of the future Mrs Robinson the First. The afternoon is mild & warm. The sea with an air of solemn deliberation, with an elaborate deliberation, ceremoniously rolls upon the beach. The air is suppressedly charged with the sound of long lines of surf. There is no land over against this cliff short of Europe & the West Indies. Young Agatha (but you must give her some other name) comes wandering along the cliff. She marks how the continual assaults of the sea have undermined it; so that the fences fall over, & have need of many shiftings inland. The sea has encroached also upon that part where their dwelling-house stands near the light-house.--Filled with meditations, she reclines along the edge of the cliff & gazes out seaward. She marks a handful of cloud on the horizon, presaging a storm tho' [thro'?] all this quietude. (Of a maratime family & always dwelling on the coast, she is learned in these matters) This again gives food for thought. Suddenly she catches the long shadow of the cliff cast upon the beach loo feet beneath her; and now she notes a shadow moving along the shadow. It is cast by a sheep from the pasture. It has advanced to the very edge of the cliff, & is sending a mild innocent glance far out upon the water. Here [There?], in strange & beautiful contrast, we have the innocence of the land placidly eyeing the malignity of the sea. (All this having poetic reference to Agatha & her sea-lover, who is coming in the storm: the storm carries her lover to her; she catches a dim distant glimpse of his ship ere quitting the cliff)

P.S. It were well, if from her knowledge of the deep miseries produced to wives by marrying seafaring men, Agatha should have formed a young determination never to marry a sailor; which resolve in her, however, is afterwards overborne by the omnipotence of Love.

--P.S. No 2. Agatha should be active during the wreck, & should, in some way, be made the saviour of young Robinson. He should be the only survivor. He should be ministered to by Agatha at the house during the illness ensuing upon his injuries from the wreck.--Now this wrecked ship was driven over the shoals, & driven upon the beach where she goes to pieces, all but her stem-part. This in course of time becomes embedded in the sand--after the lapse of some years showing nothing but the sturdy stem (or, prow-bone) projecting some two feet at low water. All the rest is filled & packed down with the sand.--So that after her husband has disappeared the sad Agatha every day sees this melancholy monument, with all its remindings.

After a sufficient lapse of time--when Agatha has become alarmed about the protracted abscence of her young husband & is feverishly expecting a letter from him--then we must introduce the mail-post--no, that phrase wont' do, but here is the thing.--Owing to the remoteness of the lighthouse from any settled place no regular mail reaches it. But some mile or so distant there is a road leading between two post-towns. And at the junction of what we shall call the Light-House road with this Post Rode, there stands a post surmounted with a little rude wood box with a lid to it & a leather hinge. Into this box the Post boy drops all letters for the people of the light house & that vicinity of fisher-men. To this post they must come for their letters. And, of course, daily young Agatha goes--for seventeen years she [?] goes thither daily [.] As her hopes gradually decay in her, so does the post itself & the little box decay. The post rots in the ground at last. Owing to its being little used--hardly used at all--grass grows rankly about it. At last a little bird nests in it. At last the post falls.

The father of Agatha must be an old widower--a man of the sea, but early driven away from it by repeated disasters. Hence, is he subdued & quiet & wise in his life. And now he tends a light house, to warn people from those very perils, from which he himself has suffered.

Some few other items occur to me--but nothing material--and I fear to weary you, if not, make you smile at my strange impertinent officiousness.--And it would be so, were it not that these things do, in my mind, seem legitimately to belong to the story; for they were visably suggested to me by scenes I actually beheld while on the very coast where the story of Agatha occurred.--I do not therefore, My Dear Hawthorne, at all imagine that you will think that I am so silly as to flatter myself I am giving you anything of my own. I am but restoring to you your own property--which you would quickly enough have identified for yourself--had you but been on the spot as I happened to be.

Let me conclude by saying that it seems to me that with your great power in these things, you can construct a story of remarkable interest out of this material furnished by the New Bedford lawyer.--You have a skeleton of actual reality to build about with fulness & veins & beauty. And if I thought I could do it as well as you, why, I should not let you have it.--The narrative [narration?] from the Diary is instinct with significance.--Consider the mention of the shawls--& the inference derived from it. Ponder the conduct of this Robinson throughout.--Mark his trepidation & suspicion when any one called upon him.--But why prate so--you will mark it all & mark it deeper than I would, perhaps.

I have written all this in a great hurry; so you must spell it out the best way you may.

P.S. The business was settled in a few weeks afterwards, in a most amicable & honorable manner, by a division of the property. I think Mrs. Robinson & her family refused to claim or recieve anything that really belonged to Mrs. Irwin, or which Robinson had derived through her.--

[Enclosure: Mr. Clifford's story of Agatha]

May 28th 1842 Saturday. I have just returned from a visit to Falmouth with a Mr Janney of Mx on one of the most interesting and romantic cases I ever expect to be engaged in.--The gentle-man from Missouri Mr Janney came to my house last Sunday evening and related to myself and partner that he had married the daughter of a Mrs Irvin formerly of Pittsburgh Pa. and that Mr Irvin had married a second husband by the name of Robertson. The latter deceased about two years since. He was appointed Admr to his Estate which amounted to $20000--about 15 months afterwards Mrs Robertson also died and in the meantime the Adm~ had been engaged in looking up heirs to the Estate--He learned that Robertson was an Englishman whose original name was Shinn --that he resided at Alexandria D.C. where he had two nephews --He also wrote to England and had ascertained the history and genealogy of the family with much accuracy, when on going to the Post Office one day he found a letter directed to James Robertson the deceased, post marked Falmouth Masstts--On opening it he found it from a person signing herself Rebecca A. Gifford and addressing him as "Father." The existence of this girl had been known before by Mrs Robertson and her husband had pronounced her to be illegitimate The Admr then addressed a letter to Mr Gifford informing her of the decease of her father. He was surprized soon after by the appearance in St Louis of a shrewd Quaker from Falmouth named Dillingham with full powers and fortified by letters and affidayits shewing the existence of a wife in Falmouth whom Robertson married in 1807 at Pembroke M[a]ss & the legitimacy of the daughter who had married a Mr Gifford and laying strong claims to the entire property.

The Admr and heirs having strong doubts arising from the declarations of Robertson during his lifetime & the peculiar expressions contained in the letters exhibited, as to the validity of the marriage 8~ the claim based upon it, determined to resist and legal proceedings were at once commenced. The object of the visit of Mr Janney was to attend the taking of depositions, upon a notice from the claimants--The Minister Town Clerk and Witnesses present at the ceremony established the fact of a legal marriage and the birth of a child in wedlock, beyond all cavil or controversy all of the witnesses were of the highest respectability and the widow and daughter interested me very much.

It appeared that Robertson was wrecked on the coast of Pembroke where this girl, then Miss Agatha Hatch was living--that he was hospitably entertained and cared for, and that within a year after, he married her, in due form of law--that he went two short voyages to sea. About two years after the marriage, leaving his wife enciente [sic] he started off in search of employment and from that time until Seventeen years afterwards she never heard from him in any way whatsoever, directly or indirectly, not even a word. Being poor she went out nursing for her daily bread and yet contrived out of her small earnings to give her daughter a first rate education. Having become connected with the Society of Friends she sent her to their most celebrated boarding school and when I saw her I found she had profited by all her advantages beyond most females. In the meantime Robertson had gone to Alexandria D.C. where he had entered into a successful and profitable business and married a second wife. At the expiration of this long period of 17 years which for the poor forsaken widow> wife, had glided wearily away, while she was engaged away from home, her Father rode up in a gig and informed her that her husband had returned and wished to see her and her child--but if she would not see him, to see her child at all events--They all returned together and encountered him on the way coming to meet them about half a mile from her father's house. This meeting was described to me by the mother and daughter--Every incident seemed branded upon the memories of both. He excused himself as well as he could for his long absence and silence, appeard very affectionate refused to tell where he was living and persuaded them not to make any inquiries, gave them a handsome sum of money, promised to return for good and left the next day--He appeared again in about a year, just on the eve of his daughter's marriage & gave her a bridal present. It was not long after this that his wife in Alexandria died--He then wrote to his son-in-law to come there--He did so--remained 2 days and brought back a gold watch and three handsome shawls which had been previously worn by some person--They all admitted that they had suspicions then & from this circumstance that he had been a second time married. Soon after this he visited Falmouth again & as it proved for the last time--He announced his intention of removing to Missouri & urged the whole family to go with him, promising money land and other assistance to his son-in-law. The offer was not accepted He shed tears when he bade them farewell--From the time of his return to Missouri till the time of his death a constant correspondence was kept up money was remitted by him annually and he announced to them his marriage with Mrs Irvin--He had no children by either of his last two wives.

Mr Janney was entirely disappointed in the character of the evidence and the character of the claimants. He considered them, when he first came, as parties to the imposition practised upon Mr Irvin & her cllildren. But I was satisfied and I think he was, that their motives in keeping silence were high and pure, creditable in every way to the true Mrs Robertson. She stated the causes with a simplicity & pathos which carried that conviction irresistibly to my mind. The only good(?) it could have done to expose him would have been to drive Robertson away and forever disgrace him & it would certainly have made Mrs Irvin & her children wretched for the rest of their days--"I had no wish" said the wife "to make either of them unhappy, notwithstanding all I had suffered on his account"--It was to me a most striking instance of long. continued & uncomplaining submission to wrong and anguish on the part of a wife, which made her in my eyes a heroine.

Janney informed me that R. and his last wife did not live very happily together and particularly that he seemed to be a very jealous suspicious man--that when a person called at his house he would never enter the room till he knew who it was & "all about him.["] He must have recieved a portion of his punishment in this life. The fact came out in the course of examination that they had agreed to give Dillingham one half of what he might obtain deducting the expenses from his half--After the strength of the evidence became known Mr Janney commenced the making of serious efforts to effect a compromise of the claim. What the result will be time will shew--This is, I suspect, the end of my connexion with the case--

25 OCTOBER 1852

Monday Morning

25th Oct: 1852. My Dear Hawthorne--

If you thought it worth while to write the story of Agatha, and should you be engaged upon it; then I have a little idea touching it, which however trifling, may not be entirely out of place. Perhaps, tho', the idea has occurred to yourself.--The probable facility with which Robinson first leaves his wife & then takes another, may, possibly, be ascribed to the peculiarly latitudinarian notions, which most sailors have of all tender obligations of that sort. In his previous sailor life Robinson had found a wife (for a night) in every port. The sense of the obligation of the marriage-vow to Agatha had little weight with him at first. It was only when some years of life ashore had passed that his moral sense on that point became developed. And hence his subsequent conduct--Remorse &c. Turn this over in your mind & see if it is right. If not--make it so yourself.

If you come across a little book called "Taughconic"--look into it and divert yourself with it. Among others, you figure in it, & I also. But you are the most honored, being the most abused, and having the greatest space allotted you.--It is a "Guide Book" to Berkshire.

I dont know when I shall see you. I shall lay eyes on you one of these days however. Keep some Champagne or Gin for me.

My respects and best remembrances to Mrs: Hawthorne & a reminder to the children.

H Melville If you find any sand in this letter, regard it as so many sands of my life, which run out as I was writing it.


My dear Hawthorne,--

The other day, at Concord, you expressed uncertainty concerning your undertaking the story of Agatha, and, in the end, you urged me to write it. I have decided to do so, and shall begin it immediately upon reaching home; and so far as in me lies, I shall endeavor to do justice to so interesting a story of reality. Will you therefore enclose the whole affair to me; and if anything of your own has occurred to you in your random thinking, won't you note it down for me on the same page with my memorandum? I wish I had come to this determination at Concord, for then we might have more fully and closely talked over the story, and so struck out new light. Make amends for this, though, as much as you conveniently can. With your permission I shall make use of the "Isle of Shoals," as far as the name goes at least. I shall also introduce the old Nantucket seaman, in the way I spoke to you about. I invoke your blessing upon my endeavors; and breathe a fair wind upon me. I greatly enjoyed my visit to you, and hope that you reaped some corresponding pleasure.

H. Melville

Julian, Una, and Rose,--my salutations to them.

24 NOVEMBER 1853

Pittsfield Nov 24th 1853

Gentlemen:--In addition to the work which I took to New York last Spring, but which I was prevented from printing at that time; I have now in hand, and pretty well on towards completion, another book--300 pages, say--partly of nautical adventure, and partly--or, rather, chiefly, of Tortoise Hunting Adventure. It will be ready for press some time in the coming January. Meanwllile, it would be convenient, to have advanced to me upon it $300.

--My acct: with you, at present, can not be very far from square. for the abovenamed advance--if remitted me now--you will have security in my former works, as well as security prospective, in the one to come, (The Tortoise-Hunters) because if you accede to the aforesaid request, this letter shall be your voucher, that I am willing your house should publish it, on the old basis--half-profits.

Reply immediately, if you please,

And Beleive Me, Yours

Herman Melville

6? DECEMBER 1853

Pittsfield Dec: 6th 1853 Gentlemen:

I acknowledge, with pleasure, yours of the 6th, enclosing $300. as an advance upon my new book (Tortoise Hunting.)

Very Truly


Herman Melville

Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square.

20 DECEMBER? 1853

(Particularly Private and Exclusively Confidential)

The Hill. Tuesday Evening.

My Lady Countess:--Some months ago a rumor was rife of a Christmas Dinner to be given by your Ladyship at your princely seat of Southmount in the heart of the Hemlock Land. Later there came report of a grand Christmas Eve to be celebrated at the same hospitable castle. Latest of all came report that both a Christmas Day Dinner and a Christmas Eve Supper were to be given by your Ladyship of Southmount.

Bewildered by these various rumors I now presume--but only upon the strength of that not disdainful feeling wherewith you have condescended to honor me--I now presume to set before your Ladyship the following considerations as respects myself, concerning these festivities rumored to be coming at your castle; not--beleive me--flattering myself that they will weigh with you to alter aught, but simply to preinform you of what may be anticipated from this loyal knight.

There are, your Ladyship, three hypotheses:

First: The Christmas Dinner.

Second: The Christmas Eve Supper

Third: The Christmas Day Dinner & the Christmas Eve Supper.

If the first, I shall be delighted to attend.

If the second, I shall deeply regret my inability to do so.

If the third, I shall be delighted to attend the Day-Dinner; but deeply regret my inability to attend the night Supper.

All of which is respectfully submitted to your Ladyship of Southmount by the humble Knight on the Hill.

My most Knightly compliments to your lovely guest the Lady Drew and the charming Lady Brittian,1 and that sweet heiress of your noble name, the infant Countess Hahn-Hahn.2

With due obeisance, & three times kissing of your Ladyships hands, & salutes to all your Ladyship's household, I am

Dear Lady of Southmount

Your Ladyship's

Knight of the Hill.

29? FEBRUARY 1854

Harper & Brothers Gentlemen:--

When I procured the advance of $300 from you upon the "Tortoises" or "Tortoise Hunting," I intimated that the work would be ready for press some time in January. I have now to express my concern, that, owing to a variety of causes, the work, unavoid ably, was not ready in that month, & still requires additional work to it, ere completion. But in no sense can you loose by the delay.

I shall be in New York in the course of a few weeks; when I shall call upon you, & inform you when these proverbially slow "Tortoises" will be ready to crawl into market.

Very truly yours,

H. Melville

MARCH 1854

Day of Ill Luck--Friday, March &c Dear Mrs Morewood

(See how my hand improves as the name is traced--compare, I say the writing of the second line with the first) Madam:--

The Pilgrims come, not as of old with staff and scrip, but splendidly gilt like kings. A superstitious, a fanciful mind might almost, by anticipation, distrust the wisdom taught by a book so bound. But--

The engravings are beautiful, & I have enjoyed them much. No doubt too, pictures equally fine will be found in the text when I come to read it--which will not be long from now.

H Melville

25 MAY 1854

Pittsfield May 25th 1854 Harper & Brothers:-- Gentlemen--

I have receivd your letter enclosing $100 on acct: of the "Paradise of Batchelors &c."

When you write me concerning the "Tortoises" extract, you may, if you choose, inform me at about what time you would be prepared to commence the publication of another Serial in your Magazine--supposing you had one, in prospect, that suited you.

Yours Very Truly

H Melvill

By writing soon, on the latter subject, you will greatly oblige.

7 JUNE? 1854

Pittsfield, July 7, 1854 George P. Putnam, Esq.

Dear Sir: I send you prepaid by Express, to-day, some sixty and odd pages of MSS. The manuscript is part of a story called "Israel Potter," concerning which a more particular understanding need be had....

This story when finished will embrace some 300 or more MS. pages. I propose to publish it in your Magazine at the rate of five dollars per printed page, the copyright to be retained by me. Upon the acceptation of this proposition (if accepted) $100. to be remitted to me as an advance. After that advance shall have been cancelled in the course of publication of the numbers, the price of the subsequent numbers to be remitted to me upon each issue of the Magazine as long as the story lasts. Not less than the amount of ten printed pages (but as much more as may be usually convenient) to be published in one number.

On my side, I guarantee to provide you with matter for at least ten printed pages in ample time for each issue. I engage that the story shall contain nothing of any sort to shock the fastidious. There will be very little reflective writing in it; nothing weighty. It is adventure. As for its interest, I shall try to sustain that as well as I can

Very truly yours,

Herman Melville.

22 JUNE 1854

Pittsfield June 22d 1854 Gentlemen:--You have not as yet favored me with your views as to the Extract from the Tortoise Hunters I sent you.

I am desirous to learn your views with regard to that Extract, so as to know whether it be worth while to prepare further Extracts for you, at present.

Though it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to get the entire Tortoise Book ready for publication before Spring, yet I can pick out & finish parts, here & there, for prior use. But even this is not unattended with labor; which labor, of course, I do not care to undergo while remaining in doubt as to its recompence.

Be so good therefore by an early reply to releive my uncertainty.

Very Truly Yours

H. Melville.

Harper & Brothers New York.

25 JULY [1854?]

Pittsfield July 25th Harper & Brothers:-- Gentlemen--

Tomorrow there will leave here a parcel from me containing M. S. S. for you--by Express.

Yours Truly

H. Melville

13 AUGUST [1854?]

Pittsfield Aug 13th Gentlemen:--

Herewith are three articles which perhaps may be found suitable for your Magazine.3 Be so good as to give them your early attention, and apprise me of the result, and oblige

Yours Very Truly

H Melville Harper & Brothers, New York.

18 SEPTEMBER [1854?]

Pittsfield / Sept: 18th Gentlemen:

I send you by express a brace of fowl--wild fowl. Hope you will like the flavor.

Yours Truly

H. Melville Harper & Brothers.


Pittsfield, Nov: 3d 1854 Dear Sir: The returned M.S. is received; also the note accompanying it, in which you allude to I. Potter.--Day before yesterday I wrote you on that subject. But there was an error in my note; which I now rectify, that it may not cause you future trouble. I said in my note that there would be some 25 more pages of M.S.--It should have been forty five--45.

I wiil send it all down in a few days.

Truly Yours

H Melville G. P. Putnam Esq. New York.

APRIL 1855

Pittsfield / April 1st 1855

Gentlemen:--Enclosed is the proof last sent.

It may be well to send the whole as made up in page form.

Truly Yours

H Melville

7 AUGUST [1855]

Pittsfield Aug 7th Gentlemen:--Returning home after a few days abscence I find your letter of Aug 1st enclosing check for $37.50 in payment for article in Aug: no: of Putnam's Magazine. Having previously drawn upon you, and supposing that you have honored the draught, I reenclose your check, regretting that you should have been twice troubled about one affair.

Truly Yours

H Melville

Dix & Edwards Publishers Putnam's Monthly No 10 Park Place. New York.

10 AUGUST 1855

Pittsfield Aug 10th 1855. Gentlemen:

I have just received yours of the 8th.--The explanation explains all. The expences are inconsiderable. I have paid them. I was not aware of your arrangement as to sending your check regularly to contributors on the last of the month.

Very Truly Yours

H. Melville Dix & Edwards Publisher No 10 Park Place New York

21 AUGUST 1855

Pittsfield Aug 2lst / 1855. Gentlemen: By reference to our Agreement about Israel Potter, I see there is to be a payment (by note) during the present month. Could you conveniently send me the acct: & note by the beginning of next week, and oblige

Yours Faithfully

H Melvi]le G. P. Putnam & Co New York


Pittsfield Sep: 7th 1855 Dear Sir: I have been honored by an invitation to an Entertainment to be given by the N. Y. Book-Publishers' Association on the 27th Inst:--

If in my power I shall be most happy to be present at so attractive a festival.

Respectfully Yours

H Melville

G. P. Putnam Esq. Secretary

7 JANUARY 1856

Pittsfield, Jan 7th / 1856 Gentlemen:--Yours Of 3rd Inst. is received. Since yow are disposed to undertake the book, were it not well to have a written Agreement? Such, if you please, you may prepare & send me for signature. I am ready to sign one of the same sort made concerning "I. Potter" with Mr Putnam.

In your note you state 12 per cent as the terms I mentioned. But I meant to say 12 1/2 per cent; that is, the same terms as I had for "I Potter"; which was 12 & 1/2 as I now find by reference to the Agreement. Pray, understand me so now.

Upon looking over my set of the Magazine, I find two Nos., that I want, gone:--Dec. Nx 1853, 8~ Ap. Nx 1854. Will you be kind enough to send those two Nos. to me by mail, so that I can do my share of the work without delay

Very Respectfully Yours

H. Melville Dix & Edwards No 10 Park Place New York

19 JANUARY 1856

Pittsfield Jan 19th 1856.

Gentlemen: Agreeably to our understanding, I have prepared for republication the Articles agreed upon,--which herewith you have.

Aside from ordinary corrections, some few other improvements have been made, and a desirable note or two added.

During my talk with Mr Dix I volunteered something about supplying some sort of prefatory matter, with a new title to the Collection; but upon less immature consideration, judge that both those steps are not only unnecessary, but might prove unsuitable.

Enclosed is the Title and Table of Contents.

I have numbered the magazine pages, so as to correspond with the order of the Table of Contents.

About having the author's name on the title-page, you may do as you deem best; but any appending of titles of former works is hardly worth while.

I have not yet recevd the agreement to be signed.

Very Truly Yours

H Melville

Dix & Edwards New York

/ Title /

Benito Cereno

Other Sketches

/ Table of Contents /

Benito Cereno Bartleby Bell-Tower Encantadas Lightning-Rod Man.

16 FEBRUARY 1856

Pittsfield Feb. 16. 1856 Gentlemen:--

The new title selected for the proposed volume is "The Piazza Tales" and the accompanying piece ("The Piazza") as giving that name to the book, is intended to come first in order. I think, with you, that "Bartleby" had best come next. So that, as amended, the order will be

The Piazza


Benito Cereno

Lightning-Rod Man


Bell Tower.

In the corrected magazine sheets I sent you, a M.S. note is appended to the title of 'Benito Cereno'; but as the book is now to be published as a collection of 'Tales', that note is unsuitable & had better be omitted.

I should like to have a proof sent to me of 'The Piazza'. Please send by mail.

The blank agreements I have not received.

It was understood that the copyright was to stand in my name. You can take it out, & charge the cost to me.

With much respect

Truly Yours

H Melville

Dix & Edwards Publishers N Y.

24 MARCH 1856

Pittsfield, March 24th Gentlemen:--Enclosed is Copy of Agreement, with proofs.--

There seems to have been a surprising profusion of commas in these proofs. I have struck them out pretty much; but hope that some one who understands punctuation better than I do, will give the final hand to it.

Yours Truly

H Melville Dix & Edwards New York.

7 OCTOBER 1856

New York, Oct. 7th 1856 My Dear Uncle--I think of sailing for the other side of the ocean on Saturday next, to be gone an uncertain time. Ten days ago I went to Gansevoort to bid Mama good bye, and in returning from thence would have stopped to bid you also good bye & Aunt Susan, had not engagements forbid. Pray, make my adieus to Aunt Susan & to Kate & Henry, and beleive me, affectionately


H. Melville Gen. Peter Gansevoort.

10, 13, 14, NOVEMBER 1856

Liverpool--Nov 10th / 1856

Monday evening. My Dear Allan--I have been ashore about two weeks, and as my plans of further travel are now beginning to mature, I proceed to write you. But first let me speak of my movements thus far.--As for the voyage over, it was upon the whole not disagreeable, though the passengers were not all of a desirable sort. There was, I think but one American beside myself. The rest were mostly Scotch with a sprinkling of English. Among others there were some six or seven "commercial travellers," a hard set who did little but drink and gamble the whole way over. With these fellows of course I had precious little to do. But there was one man, who interested me considerably, one who had been an officer of the native troops in India, and besides was a good deal of a philosopher and had been all over the world.1 With him I had many long talks, and we so managed to kill time. The weather was pretty good with the exception of a gale which lasted about 36 hours, which obliged us to "lay to" about 18.--I staid in Glasgow three or four days. It is a very fine commercial city, with a great commerce, noble streets, and an interesting old cathedral. I went to Dumbarton Castle, some twenty miles distant and to Loch Lomond near by. From Glasgow I went to Edinburgh, remaining there five days, I think. I was much pleased there. I went to Abbottsford & Melrose. And I went to Perth & Stirling.--Of some Scotchmen on board the steamer, I enquired about "Scoonie" (How is it spelt?) and learned there was such a place, and that was all. I endeavored to find out more about it; but though I consulted the books containing lists of all the clergy in Scotland, I could find no clergyman or parish called "Scoonie." But even if I had learned more, I do not know as I would have sought out the place to make a personal call upon any one; because, unfortunately, the evening we arrived at Greenock I received an ugly hurt upon the bridge of my nose, which by no means improved my appearance. A sailor was lowering a boat by one of the tackles; the rope got foul; I jumped to clear it for him, when suddenly the tackle started, and a coil of the rope (new Ma nilla) flew up in my face with great violence, and for the moment, I thought my nose was ruined for life. But the wound has now healed, and I hope that in a few days little or no scar will remain.--But for the week succeeding the accident I presented the aspect of one who had been in a bar-room fight.

--From Edinburgh I finally went to York, by way of Berwick & Neweastle, on the east coast, and after a day's stay in York to view the minster, I came here.--I have, with one small exception, travelled entirely in the "Parliamentary" trains, that is, the cheapest ones. Travelling any distance by the first class or even the second, is exceedingly dear. And yet it is not easy to travel in the "Parliamentary," because only one such train runs a day on any road, & [it] generally [usually?] starts before day-light in the morning; and the Parliamentary trains on different roads do not connect.--I propose calling to see Mr. Hawthorne here.

--About my further travel, at present I think that, if no obstacle interpose, I shall take a steamer to Constantinople from this port. I can go for $100; which is cheaper than the transatlantic steamers. The steamers hence for Constantinople touch at Gibraltar & Malta. If I go by this route to Constantinople, I shall save money. The only difficulty is about getting my passport in order for the various places afterwards. From Constantinople I should go to Alexandria by steamer, & so to Cairo, & from thence by steamer to Trieste, Venice, and bring up at Rome for a considerable stay. I may be mistaken, but I think that what funds I have, will enable me to accomplish this, though my absence from home will not probably be prolonged beyond March at the furthest. So at least I think now.--I have been ashore now t-vo weeks, and spent in all about thirty five dollars. But this has been by the strictest economy, both in R.R. Iodging, & eatin;,-.--Concerning my enjoyment of the thing, it is rather solitary business, poking about the world without a companion. Still, my health is benefited. My hip & back are better, & also my head. But I find that in walking I have pretty offer to rest.--All this is about myself. How are you? And Sophia? and the small ones? I hope all goes well. I have written Mama.

--About the trunk, it is as I told you--I am going to store it here at Liverpool till I return from the continent. I shall take nothing but the carpet-bag.--Part of my tour in Scotland I had with me a Mr Willard of Troy (you remember the name at the steamer office) a theological student, very uninteresting, but better than nobody.4 He left me for London at York. I am now alone, & expect to be for some time.

--I shall write to Lizzie the day I leave here for good, (which will probably be in about a week, as no suitable steamer for the Mediterranean sails previous to then) and in that letter to her, I will endeavor to state, where letters from home will reach me; though I doubt whether I shall be in the way of getting any letters after quitting England.--Thinking that letters might have been sent for me to the care of Murray or Bentley at London, I have written to them to forward such ietters to me at this place.

Thursday Nov 13th


Ere you get this you will have been pained to hear of the serious accident to George Duyckinck on one of the rail roads near London. I only heard of it day before yesterday from Mr Hawthorne in the cars as we were going out to his place. My first feeling was to go on at once to London to see Mr Duyckinck, thinking that possibly he might have no acquaintance near him; but Mr Hawthorne told me that upon reading an account of the affair in the paper (containing G. Duyckinck's name among others) he had at once written to a friend in London to interest himself in Mr Duyckinck's behalf; and had obtained a reply to the effect that no one was allowed to see him where he lay at St. Thomas' Hospital, I think.

But this morning Mr H. received another letter saying, that Mr D. was getting on well, and had friends about him; which I was the more rejoiced to hear, since as matters have turned out, I could not have gone to London without the utmost disarrangement of my plans. Nevertheless, did I suppose that my presence would be particularly welcome to Mr Duyckinck, or give him ease, I would go on to see him as it is. But the extent of my acquaintance with him hardly justifies me in supposing that such would be the case. There are probably those about him now; whom he would rather have than me. May God grant him a speedv recovery. I have not written to him, thinking of course that letters he does not read.--

I have now as good as determined upon sailing hence in the screw-steamer "Egyptian" for Constantinople, on Monday next. I have been on board the ship. I think this voyage is the best thing I can do--it is certainly the cheapest way in which I can spend the coming 26 days--for such will be the length of the voyage, including stoppages. I shall miss much however in going at this season of the year--June is so much better. But that can't be helped.

By the way, you had better (after reading it) send this letter on to Lizzie, as it may contain items omitted in my letters to her. And Lizzie can send it to Helen &c, if it be worth while.


Friday evening, 14th Nov.

The "Persia" sails tomorrow early. This will go in her. I am going to take the Mediterranean tour--will start on Monday early. You will not probably hear from me again in some time. But I will write when I can. God bless you,

My love to Sophia & kisses for children.

Affectionately Your Brother


Saw Mr Hawthorne this morning--but heard nothing further of Mr G. Duyckinck. It is not improbable--, I suppose, that ere this reaches you his brother may have crossed the seas to him.


19 AUGUST 1857

Pittsfield Aug 19th 1857.

Gentlemen--Your note inviting my contributions to your proposed Magazine was received yesterday.

I shall be very happy to contribute, though I can not now name the day when I shall have any article ready.

Wishing you the best success in your laudable enterprise, I am

Very Truly Yours

H Melville Phillips Sampson & Co. Boston


Pittsfield Sep 15th 1857

My Dear Sir--I said the other day in my note that I would soon tell you about the plates.D Well, I have now to say that I can not at present conveniently make arrangernents with regard to them.

It strikes me, though, that under the circumstances (copyright &c) they can bring but little at the Trade Sale, or any other sale. Whereas, if held on to for a while, they might be transferred to me to the common advantage of all concerned. But I do not wish to suggest anything in the way of a prompt settling up of the affairs of the late firm. Do with the plates whatever is thought best.

--I have been trying to scratch my brains for a Lecture. What is a good, earnest subject? "Daily progress of man towards a state of intellectual & moral perfection, as evidenced in history of 5th Avenue & 5 Points"

Yours Truly

H Melville


Pittsfield Sep. 26th

My Dear Sir--I will try and do something about the plates as soon as I can. Meantime if they bother you, sell them without remorse. To pot with them, & melt them down.

I have received two or three invitations to lecture,--invitations prompted by you--and have promptly accepted. I am ready for as many more as may come on.

Sincerely Yours

H Melville George Wm Curtis Esq.


Pittsfield Nov 6th My Dear Duyckinck--

Indisposition has prevented me from writing you ere now. Your gift is very acceptable, could not have been more so. I am glad to have a copy of Chapman's Homer. As for Pope's version (of which I have a copy) I expect it,--when I shall put Chapman beside it--to go off shrieking, like the bankrupt deities in Milton's hymn.

--Thus far I have been mostly engaged in cutting the leaves by way of pastime--as it wont do to read at present. Remember me to your brother & household. Mrs. M. joins

H Melville

13 DECEMBER 1858

Pittsfield Dec. 13th My Dear Duyckinck--

Would it make too much trouble if for the two days in February I named to you (to choose from) for my lecture before your Society, I should substitute the 10th & 17th of January? either of which, would, as I now seeJ be more convenient to me.--

But if such change would involve troublesome change in other quarters--of course I would not think of it. In that case, consider the above unwritten.

I called to see Mr Davidson the day I saw you in Clinton Place, but he was out. After waiting for him awhile, I went away. If by chance you should meet him, wont' you mention that I called?

I should like to procure an engagement through Mr Davidson, especially if it could be made to fall about the time of my lecture before The Historical Society.

Upon getting home, I was greeted by your note.--My regards to your brother, and Beleive me

Truly Yours

H Melville

20 DECEMBER 1858

Pittsfield Dec. 20th--Monday.

My Dear Duyckinck--Your note (received on Saturday) is unaccountably among the missing.--Some one must have pilfered it for the autograph. I can't otherwise account for its mysterious disappearance.

But, as I remember, you have named Feb. 7th for my day, and deprecate any change.--Well & good. Let that be the day--only, is it certain that I can get to Baltimore the day following in time to immortalise myself there also? But I suppose I can.

Touching Mr Davidson & Jersey City, I am sure I am most obliged to you for your good offices in speaking to him. I don't know that I can do anything about it at present, further at least than to let the matter alone, and dispose myself according to the event.--I should be glad to lecture there--or anywhere. If they will pay expences, & give a reasonable fee, I am ready to lecture in Labrador or on the Isle of Desolation off Patagonia.

Bear with mine infirmity of jocularity (which, I am aware should hardly intrude into a semi-business letter like this) and Beleive me

Sincerely Yours

H Melville George Duyckinck Esq. New York.

18 MAY 1859?

Pittsfield May 18th Gentlemen:

Here are two Pieces, which, if you find them suited to your Magazine I should be happy to see them appear there.--In case of publication, you may, if you please, send me what you think they are worth.

Very Truly Yours

H Melville.

14 DECEMBER 1859

Pittsfield Dec. 14, 1859 My Dear Duyckinck:

Certainly:--Pages, 384: Price, 25 cts (at least that's all I gave for it) Publisher, Willis P. Hazard, Phil.--Date, 1857.

As to the size--there you have me. But by rule, it is 5 1/2 In. by 4 1/4, and 1 In. thick. I am a sorry arithmetician; but, seems to me, if you figure this up by cord-measure and compound reduction, the result will be the site of the book, technically expressed.

My regards to your brother, and Beleive Me

"In spite of winter & rough weather"

Yours Truly

Melville George Duyckinck Esq.

21 MAY 1860

Pittsfield, May 21st, 1860 Dear Duyckinck: If you have met Allan lately he has perhaps informed you that in a few days I go with my brother Tom a voyage around Cape Horn. It was only determined upon a short time since; and I am at present busy, as you may imagine in getting ready for a somewhat long absence, and likewise in preparing for type certain M.S.S.

Now may I with propriety ask of you, conditionally, a favor? Will you, upon the arrival of the M.S.S. in New York--that is in the course of two weeks, or less--look over them and if they seem of a sort that you care to be any way concerned with, advice with Allan as to a publisher, and form of volumes, &c. And, since I can hardly summon the impudence to ask you in the midst of better avocations, to go over the proof-sheets; and there appears to be no one, in fact, to attend to that matter but the printer--will you at least see that the printer's proof-reader is a careful and competent hand?--In short, may I, without seeming too confident, ask you, as a veteran & expert in these matters, and as an old acquaintance, to lend something of an overseeing eye to the launching of this craft--the committing of it to the elements?

Remember me with kindest regards to your brother; and answer me as soon as you can; and whether you say yea or nay, Beleive me Sincerely Yours,

H. Melville. Evert Duyckinck New York.

22 MAY 1860

Memoranda for Allan

concerning the publication of my verses.

I--Don't stand on terms much with the publisher--half-profits after expenses are paid will content me--not that I expect much "profits"--but that will be a fair nominal arrangement--They should also give me I doz. copies oE the book-- 2--Don't have the Harpers.--I should like the Appletons or Scribner--But Duycinck's advice will be good here. 3--The sooner the thing is printed and published, the better--The "season" will make little or no difference, I fancy, in this case. 4--After printing, dont let the book hang back--but publish, & have done. 5--For God's sake don't have Bg the author of "Typee" "Piddledee" &c on the title-page. 6--Let the title-page be simply,



Herman Melville.

7--Dont have any clap-trap announcements and "sensation" puffs--nor any extracts published previous to publication of book--Have a decent publisher, in short. 8--Don't take any measures, or make inquiries as to expediency of an English edition simultaneous with the American--as in case of "Confidence Man." 9--In the M.S.S. each piece is on a page by itself, however small the piece. This was done merely for convenience in the final classification; and should be no guide for the printer--Of course in printing two or more pieces will sometimes appear on the same page--according to length of pieces &c. You understand-- 10--The poems are divided into books as you will see; but the divisions are not called books--they are only numbered--Thus it is in the M.S.S., and should be the same in print. There should be a page with the number between every division. 11--Anything not perfectly plain in the M.S.S. can be referred to Lizzie--aiso have the M.S.S. returned to her after printing. 12--Lizzie should by all means see the printed sheets before being bound, in order to detect any gross errors consequent upon misconstruing the M.S.S.--

These are the thoughts which hurriedly occur to me at this moment. Pardon the abruptness of their expression, but time is precious.--

--Of all human events, perhaps, the publication of a first volume of verses is the most insignificant; but though a matter of no moment to the world, it is still of some concern to the author,--as these Mem. show--Pray therefore, don't laugh at my Mem. but give heed to them, and so oblige

Your brother

Herman-- May 22d 1860

28 MAY 1860

Boston, May 29th (?) 1860

On board ship "Meteor" My Dear Duyckinck: I am glad that the postponement of the ship's day of sailing gives me a chance to answer your letter, recevd in reply to mine, on the eve of my leaving Pittsfield. It was a very welcome one--quite a wind from the feilds of old times.

My wife will send you the parcel in the course of a week or so--there remaining something to be finished in copying the M.S.S.

As my wife has interested herself a good deal in this matter, and in fact seems to know more about it than I do--at least about the merits of the performance--I must therefore refer you to her in case of any exigency requiring information further than you are now in possession of.

If your brother George is not better employed, I hope he will associate himself with you in looking over my scribblings.

That is enough in the egotistic way. Now for something else.

I anticipate as much pleasure as, at the age of fourty, one temperately can, in the voyage I am going. I go under very happy auspices so far as ship & Captain is concerned. A noble ship and a nobler Captain--& he my brother. We have the breadth of both tropics before us, to sail over twice; & shall round the world. Our first port is San Francisco, which we shall probably make in 110 days from Boston. Thence we go to Manilla--& thence, I hardly know where.--I wish devoutly you were going along. I think it would agree with you. The prime requisite for enjoyment in sea voyages, for passengers, is 1st health--2d good-nature. Both first-rate things, but not universally to be found.--At sea a fellow comes out. Salt water is like wine, in that respect.

I have a good lot of books with me--such as they are;--plenty of old periodicals--lazy reading for lazy latitudes.--Here I am called away, & must close.

Good bye to you

& God bless you

H Melville

1. 16 SEPTEMBER 1860

Pacific Ocean

(Off the coast of South America

On the Tropic of Capricorn)

Saturday September 1st 1860

My Dear Malcolm: It is now three months exactly since the ship "Meteor" sailed from Boston--a quarter of a year.7 During this long period, she has been continually moving, and has only seen land on two days. I suppose you have followed out on the map (or my globe were better--so you get Mama to clean it off for you) the route from Boston to San Francisco. The distance, by the straight track, is about 16000 miles; but the ship will have sailed before she gets there nearer 18 or 20000 miles. So you see it is further than from the apple-tree to the big rock. When we crossed the Line in the Atlantic Ocean it was very warm; & we had yvarm weather for some weeks; but as we kept getting to the Southward it began to grow less warm, and then coolish, and cold and colder, till at last it was winter. I wore two flannel shirts, and big mittens & overcoat, and a great Russia cap, a very thick leather cap, so called by sailors. At last we came in sight of land all covered w ith snow--uninhabited land, where no one ever lived, and no one ever will live--it is so barren, cold and desolate. This was Staten Land--an island. Near it, is the big island of Terra del Fuego. We passed through between these islands, and had a good view of both. There are some "wild people" living on Terra del Fuego; but it being the depth of winter there, I suppose they kept in their caves. At any rate we saw none of them. The next day we were off Cape Horn, the Southernmost point of all America. Now it was very bad weather, and was dark at about three o'clock in the afternoon. The wind blew terribly. We had hail-storms, and snow and sleet, and often the spray froze as it touched the deck. The ship rolled, and sometimes took in so much water on the deck as to wash people off their legs. Several sailors were washed along the deck this way, and came near getting washed overboard. And this reminds me of a very sad thing that happened the very morning we were off the Cape--I mean the very pitch of the Cape.--It was just about day-light; it was blowing a gale of wind; and Uncle Tom ordered the topsails (big sails) to be furled. Whilst the sailors were aloft on one of the yards, the ship rolled and plunged terribly; and it blew with sleet and hail, and was very cold & biting. Well, all at once, Uncle Tom saw something falling through the air, and then heard a thump, and then,--looking before him, saw a poor sailor lying dead on the deck. He had fallen from the yard, and was killed instantly.--His shipmates picked him up, and carried him under cover. By and by, when time could be spared, the sailmaker sewed up the body in a peice of sail-cloth, putting some iron balls--cannon balls--at the foot of it. And, when all was ready, the body was put on a plank, and carried to the ship's side in the prescence of all hands. Then Uncle Tom, as Captain, read a prayer out of the prayer-book, and at a given word, the sailors who held the plank tipped it up, and immediately the body slipped into the stormy ocean, and we saw it no more.--Such is the way a poor sailor is buried at sea. This sailor's name was Ray. He had a friend among the cre-v; and they were both going to California, and thought of living there; but you see what happened.

We were in this stormy weat11er about forty or fifty days, dating from the beginning. But now at last we are in fine weather again, and the sun shines warm. (See page 5th)

Pacific Ocean

On the Line, Sept. 16th 1860 My Dear Malcolm: Since coming to the end of the fourth page, we have been sailing in fine weather, and it has continued quite w arm.--The other day we saw a whale-ship; and I got into a boat and sailed over the ocean in it to the whale-ship, and stayed there about an hour. They had eight or ten of the "wild people" aboard. rhe Captain of the whale-ship had hired them at one of the islands alled Roratonga. He wanted them to help pull in the whale boat when they hunt the whale.--Uncle Tom's crew are now very busy making the ship look smart for San Francisco. They are tarring the rigging, and are going to paint the ship, & the masts and yards. She looks very rusty now, oweing to so much bad weather that we have been in.--When we get to San-Francisco, I shall put this letter in the post office there, and you will get it in about 25 days afterwards. It will go in a steamer to a place called Panama, on the Isthmus of Darien (get out your map, & find it) then it will cross the Isthmus by rail road to Aspinwall or Chagres on the Gulf of Mexico; there, another steamer will take it, which steamer, after touching at Havanna in Cuba for coals, will go direct to New York; and there, it will go to the Post Office, and so, get to Pittsfield.

I hope that, when it arrives, it will find you well, and all the family. And I hope that you have called to mind what I said to you about your behaviour previous to my going away. I hope that you have been obedient to your mother, and helped her all you could, saved her trouble. Now is the time to show what you are--whether you are a good, honorable boy, or a good-for-nothing one. Any boy, of your age, who disobeys his mother, or worries her, or is disrespectful to her--such a boy is a poor shabby fellow; and if you know any such boys, you ought to cut their acquaintance.

(Continued from 6th page.)

Now, my Dear Malcolm, I must finish my letter to you. I think of you, and Stan-vix & Bessie and Fanny 8 very often; and often long to be with you. But it can not be, at present. The picture which I have of you & the rest, I look at sometimes, till the faces almost seem real.--Now, my Dear Boy, good bye, & God bless you Your affectionate father

H Melville I enclose a little baby flying-fish's wing

for Fanny

[enclosure: "wing"]


Sep. 2d 1860 My Dear Bessie: I thought I would send you a letter, that you could read yourself--at least a part of it.l But here and there I propose to write in the usual manner, as I find the printing style comes rather awkwardly in a rolling ship. Mamma will read these parts to you. We have seen a good many sea-birds. Many have followed the ship day after day. I used to feed them with crumbs. But now it has got to be warm weather, the birds have left us. They we[re] about as big as chickens--they were all over speckled--and they would sometimes, during a calm, keep behind the ship, fluttering about in the water, with a mighty cackling, and whenever anything was thrown overboard they would hurry to get it. But they never would light on the ship--they kept all the time flying or else resting themselves by floating on the water like ducks in a pond. These birds have no home, unless it is some wild rocks in the middle of the ocean. They never see any orchards, and have a taste of the apples & cherries, like your gay little friend in Pittsfield Robin Red Breast Esq.

--I could tell you a good many more things about the sea, but I must defer the rest till I get home.

I hope you are a good girl; and give Mama no trouble. Do you help Mama keep house? That little bag you made for me, I use very often, and think of you every time.

I suppose you have had a good many walks on the hill, and picked the strawberries.

I hope you take good care of little

FANNY and that when you go on the hill, you go this way: that is to say, hand in hand.




Sunday Evening Dec. 2d 1860 My Dear Mrs. Morewood:

Lizzie has written you, I beleive, that we purposed leaving for home on Monday (tomorrow)--but we have changed our plans. Lizzie and the children will remain here till Thursday; and I--in advance,--will go to Pittsfield on Tuesday, to get matters in readiness for them--putting up the stoves, airing the bedding--warming the house, and getting up a grand domestic banquet. I shall leave here in the morning train on Tuesday; and will be very happy to accept, for myself, your kind & neighborly invitation for a day or two.

Let me take this opportunity of saying that Tom charged me with his best remembrances to you. I think he wrote to Mrs Brittain, thereby sending his remembrances to that lady by his own hand. And to you I, in the same manner, send mine- & through you, to Mrs Brittian.--

Very Truly & Sincerely

Your Friend & Neighbor

H Melville --P.S. Very scratchy pen.

15 MARCH 1861

Pittsfield March 1 5th 1861 My Dear Uncle: It has been suggested to me that I might procure some foreign appointment under the new Administration--the consulship at Florence, for example.5 In many respects such an appointment would be desirable for me, altho'the emoluments are not very considerable. At all events, it is my purpose to apply. And I write for the purpose of enlisting your kind offices, which I know, you will cheerfully render;--and also to say, that early next week (perhaps on Monday) I shall leave here for New York, and have thought it advisable to take Albany in my way, for the purpose of seeing & consulting with you, touching my design.--I write in much haste, in order to get this into the mail. I have only time to send love to Aunt Susan & Kitty, and to say that as ever, I am Sincerely & Affectionately Yours

Herman Melville

20 MARCH 1861

New York March 20th 1861 Dear Sir: I beleive you are apprized of my design as to obtaining, if possible, the consulship at Florence.

I am persuaded, from all I hear, that if Senator Sumner" could be earnestly enlisted in the cause, I should, in all likelihod, succeed. May I therefore ask your good services in that quarter? I should be greatly obliged to you for a strong letter from yourself, and for procuring for me other strong letters from suitable persons in Boston. It is important that the business should be pressed at once. I leave here for Washington tomorrow, and letters will reach me there any time for the next eight or ten days.

Very Truly & Sincerely Yours

H Melville Richard H. Dana Jr. Esq.

24, 25 MARCH 1861

My Dearest Lizzie:

Sunday Afternoon / Washington

I wrote you the other day from here, and now for another note. In the first place I must say that as yet I have been able to accomplish nothing in the matter of the consulship--have not in fact been able as yet so much as even to see any one on the subject. I called last night at Senator Sumner's, but he was at a dinner somewhere. I shall call again tomorrow. After leaving Sumner's I went with Dr Nourse to a little sort of a party given by the wife of a man connected with one of the Departments. Had quite a pleasant evening. Several Senators were there with wives, daughters &c. The Vice President 1 also & wife. Mrs Hamlin is in appearance something like you--so she struck me at least. I need not add that she was very pleasing in her manners.--The night previous to this I was at the second levee at the White House. There was a great crowd, & a brilliant scene. Ladies in full dress by the hundred. A steady stream of two~ two's wound thro' the apartments shaking hands with "Old Abe" and immediately passing on. This continued without cessation for an hour & a half. Of course I was one of the shakers. Old Able is much better looking that [than] I expected & younger looking. He shook hands like a good fellow--working hard at it like a man sawing wood at so much per cord. Mrs Lincoln is rather good-looking I thought. The scene was very fine altogether. Supurb furniture--flood of light--magnificent flowers--full band of music &c.

I have attended the Senate twice; but nothing very interesting. The new wings of the Capitol are noble buildings, by far the richest in marble of any on the continent. I allude more particularly to the marble of the interior--staircases &c. They are in short palatial. The whole structure taken together is truly immense. It would astonish you to get lost among the labyrinths of halls, passages & splendid corridors.

This morning I spent in the park opposite the White House sunning myself on a seat. The grass is bright & beautiful, & the shrubbery beginning to bud. It is just cool enough to make an overcoat comfortable sitting out of doors. The wind is high however, & except in the parks, all is dust. I am boarding in a plain home--plain fare plain people--in fact all plain but the road to Florence. But if nothing else comes of it, I will at least derive good from the trip at this season. Though, to tell the truth, I feel home-sick at times, strange as it may seem. How long I still remain is uncertain. I am expecting letters every day, & can do little or nothing till they arrive.

This afternoon I visited the Washington Monument. Huge tower some 160 feet high of white marble. Could not get inside. Nothing been done to it for long time.

Dr Nourse is as facetious as ever. I went with him to the White House at the levee. But he is the greater part of the time engaged prosecuting his application for office. I venture to say he will not succeed, & he begins to think so himself, I judge, from what he tells me of his experiences thus far. He leaves here probably on Tuesday.

Monday Morning. Dearest Lizzie: Feel rather overdone this morning--ovenvalked yesterday. But the trip will do me good. Kisses to the children. Hope to get a letter from you today

Thine, My Dearest Lizzie


1? FEBRUARY 1862


My Dear Duyckinck:

For the past week I have been Iying here rheumatism-bound, or I should have been to see you to tell you where we are to be found.

I want you to loan me some of those volumes of the Elizabethan dramatists. Is Deckar among the set? And Webster? If so, please put them up and let the bearer have them.--Send me any except Marlowe, whom I have read.

Mrs. Melville and I will be glad to see you & your brother any evening. If you have nothing better to do, come round tomorrow (Sunday) evening, and we will brew some whiskey punch and settle the affairs of the universe over it--which affairs sadly need it, some say.


H Melville P.S. Dont fear that the books will get wet, as the bearer travels under cover by rail, all but the unavoidable corners.

31 DECEMBER 1863

Last Day of 1863 Dear Duyckinck:

I return the book, thinking you may want it. I have read it with great interest. As for scribbling anything about it, tho' I would like to please you, I have not spirit enough.

We are going to have Allan & his family here to night, with Mrs Britton 7 from Pittsfield, & one or two other friends, who will come early, stay sociably & go early. If convenient, pray, join us.


H. M.

TO THE EDITORS OF Putnam's Monthly Magazine

I feel much complimented.... You may include me in the list of probable contributors.

5 MAY 1870

New York, May 5. '70. My Dear Mamma:

As you express a wish in your last letter dated the 2nd inst. to hear from me again before you leave Albany, I accordingly write this; and that you may be satisfied that I have not been dilatory about the portrait, I will say that I have already had two sittings, and it is getting on.

We have not heard from Stanwix since receiving his London letter in February, but are daily in expectation of one, tho' boy-like he may not think how anxiously we await it.

The other day I visited out of curiosity the GANSEVOORT HOTEL, corner of "Little twelfth Street" and West Street. I bought a paper of tobacco by way of introducing myself: then I said to the person who served me: "Can you tell me what this word 'Gansevoort' means? is it the name of a man? and if so, who was this Gansevoort?" Thereupon a solemn gentleman at a remote table spoke up: "Sir," said he, putting down his newspaper, "this hotel and the street of the same name are called after a very rich family who in old times owned a great deal of property hereabouts." The dense ignorance of this solemn gentleman,--his knowing nothing of the hero of Fort Stanwix, aroused such an indignation in my breast, that, disdaining to enlighten his benighted soul, I left the place without further colloquy. Repairing to the philosophic privacy of the District Office, I then moralized upon the instability of human glory and the evanescence of--many other things.

Lizzie and the girls are well, and for some time past have devoted themselves to the shrine of Fashion, engaged in getting up the unaccountable phenomina and wonderful circumferential illusions which in these extraordinary days invest the figure of lovely woman. --I am called away and must close.

My remembrances to Uncle Peter, Aunt Susan, the Superb Kate and the benignant Lansing; and believe me,

Affectionately Your Son,


13 APRIL 1877

Corner Jane & West / Ap. 13, noon My Dear Duyckinck:

Last evening I went down to the Island and anchored for the night in the

"Snug Harbor," getting back this morning in an early boat.

Tom was greatly pleased with your proposed gift to the Institution, and charged me to express to you as much--and more. I understood him to say that, pursuant to your suggestion as to time, he will send a proper person for the pictures next Tuesday_

We visited the new wing, and selected a good place for the Prints, where the old Salts can look up at them from off their dominoes--a favorite game with them.--All you have now to do, is to provide for an annual Lecture, to be delivered before the old veterans in the big hall of the Institution, on the Battle of the Nile, the pictures serving to illustrate the matter.

With Friendliest Regards

H Melville

(not abounding in note-paper in this shanty of an office, I write on the best substitute at hand.)

10 AUGUST 1883

Dear Mr. Hawthorne:

I am sorry that circumstances have prevented my answering your note earlier.--It gave me pleasure to receive it, and this for reasons you can readily imagine.

As to the information you seek--little enough, I think, it will prove, at least for the purpose you name--it can be more conveniently conveyed personally than by note. So if you will be kind enough to come & see me, as you propose, I shall be happy to greet you.

My wife & daughter being absent in the country, for the present I am alone at the house 104 E. 26 St.

I am obliged to be away [a] good part of the day, nor, during these summer nights am I much at home except when in bed.--That I may be sure to be in when you call, let me name day & hour--Wednesday next the 15th about 7 1/2 P.M. Should this be inconvenient for you, name your own time--so it be in the evening.

Very Truly Yours

H. Melville Aug. 10, 83

12 JANUARY 1890

104 E. 26th St.

New York / Jan 12, 1890 Dear Sir: Illness has prevented an earlier reply to your note.--The proposition to reprint "Typee" somewhat embarrasses me, since the circumstances are such, that I can not feel myself at liberty to entertain it without first seeking light from Mr. Murray.

I shall write that gentleman by the same mail that conveys this and upon receiving his reply, will forthwith communicate with you again.--Yes, "B.V." interests me much. I shall try and procure here that "Life" which you have written. The "City of Dreadful Night" is the modern Book of Job, under an original poem duskily looming with the same aboriginal verities. Much more might be said; but enough

Yours truly

H. Melville

Mr. H. S. Salt

I have not yet received the "Scottish Art Review" containing your critique, which you say Mr. Barrs was kind enough to mail me.--

12 JANUARY 1890

104 E. 26th St.

New York / Jan. 12, 1890 Dear Sir:

I have received a note from a gentleman writing for the Editor of the Camelot Series, asking me whether I would have any objection to the reprinting of "Typee" in that Series. To which note I have written to the effect, that I do not feel myself at liberty to entertain such a proposition without first communicating with you.

I have no exact knowledge as to the bearing at this present time of the Copyright Law in the matter. But even if that set the book free, I should, under the circumstances, still feel myself bound to write you this note, and say that my consent to the proposition in question must be contingent upon yours. Be good enough to advise me, at your convenience. Very truly Yours

H Melville Mr. John Murray.

25 FEBRUARY 1890

104E. 26th St.

New York / Feb. 25, '90 Dear Sir:

Thanks for your note of the 2d Inst.--with added thanks for the book.

I have read it with the greatest interest, and can sincerely say that I feel under obligations to you as the author of so excellent a biography of a very remarkable poet and man.--

Concerning "Typee."--As I engaged to do, I wrote to Mr. Murray. The information contained in the reply is such, and the manner of conveying it is such, that I consider myself bound, by considerations both of right and courtesy, not to sanction any English issue of the book--(during my lifetime) other than that of the original purchaser and publisher.--

Were matters otherwise, I should be glad to accede to your proposition, especially as it would put me into such good company as that embraced in the Camelot Series.--Feeling that you will appreciate the spirit in which I write this, I am

With much respect

Yours very truly

H. Melville.

To Mr. H. S. Salt London

10 AUGUST 1890

104 E. 26th St. N.Y.

Aug 10, '90 Dear Sir: I have been away from town, a wanderer hardly reachable for a time, so that your letter was long in coming to hand. And now in reference theret

My great grandfather on the paternal side was a native of Scotland. On the maternal side, and in the same remove, my progenitor was a native of Holland; and, on that side, the wives were all of like ancestry.

As to any strains of other blood, I am ignorant, except that my paternal grandfather's wife was of Irish Protestant stock.

Very Truly yours

Herman Melville To Mr. Havelock Ellis

AUGUST? 1848?

Monday Afternoon Dear Duyckinck--I am verry sorry, but a confounded headache--something that altogether upsets me socially--will prevent me from coming round this evening. You will excuse me, I know. I am sorry not to meet Mr Ward.

Sincerely Yours

H Melville

AUGUST? 1848?

My Dear Sir, I should be very happy to comply with Mrs Cooper['s] friendly invitation, were it not that here are two ladies by my side already half shawled for a little excursion in a quite contrary direction, & I am the elected escort.

So give my rememberances to Mrs Cooper, & take my prayers for a happy Pic-nic.

H. M. I opened your note without observing the superscription--& have this moment discovered that it has a joint address. But Allan is not well to day--& will therefore be forced to decline.

1848? OR 1849?

103 4th Avenue My Dear Duyckinck

I sincerely regret that I shall not be able to be with you this evening--as I have something to attend to that I can not see about at any other time

Yours truly

Herman Melville Saturday morning

1848? 1849? 1850?

Dear Duyckincke

I have just revd your package. I will look over the book with pleasure. And will contrive to write something about it, but being much engaged just now, wont' be able to say a very great deal.--I will see you before long.

Sincerely Yours

H Melville

Monday Evening

29 AUGUST 1856[?]

Friday Morning My Dear Lady Broadhall:--

Forever hereafter be this day thought a fortunate one, instead of a luckless. For has it not brought me some share of a kind invitation from the ever-excellent & beautiful Lady of Paradise--slip of the pen--of Broadhall, I mean--

But then, unfortunately, I am absolutely compelled to decline my part of the merry summons. It gives me great grief;--but I shall be with you in sympathy.

So Adieu to Thee

Thou Lady of All Delight;

even Thou, The peerless Lady

of Broadhall.



Permit me through your columns to make a disavowal. T. B. Peterson & Brothers, of Philadelphia, include in a late list of their publications "The Refugee; by Herman Melville."

I have never written any work by that title. In connection with that title Peterson Brothers employ my name without authority, and notwithstanding a remonstrance conveyed to them long ago.

15 JANUARY 1868?

Mr. H. Melville is much obliged to Mr and Mrs George P Putnam for their friendly invitation, and accepts it with pleasure. N.Y. Jan 15th


Good bye, & God bless you

Your affectionate Father

H. Melville.