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Returned, called at Holmes , saw Wilkins there, then at sunset crossed Butter-
milk Channel & to the Island again.     Alf Waud s letter containing an account of a
terrific sell which Gleason hath experienced.  How a certain Sonnet to the Maelstr m
having been forwarded to him, he, Bellow the Editor & printers did not discover till
that thirty five thousand copies had been given forth to the world, that they had 
published
an extremely witty, clever, but horribly indecent acrostic, the whole being one 
outrageous
double entendre.   And this appeared in  the flag of Our Union , a paper boasting
morality & purity of the highest order.  The wretched Gleason is frantic about it,
& hath proclaimed (like an ass!) that he ll repurchase all copies of the paper having
the obnoxious sonnet, at the rate of 50 cents each. /   Talk of this, and after
the whist game left me and Barth alone, another plot broached, and forthwith
commenced.     Barth writing a letter to Gleason, as a Subscriber, one Crawford who
hath left the Island;   heavily and morally indignant at the publication of the sonnet,
touching him on adapting his paper to the  reeking atmosphere of a brothel,  for the
sake of a  few more filthy dollars .  speaking of the arm of justice arresting his
 hellish career,   and finally bidding him, peremptorily discontinue the sending his 
 obscene sheet .            This with an accompaniment of such zealous nob-shaking mer-
riment that it was painful outright we continued till an hour after midnight.
  28. Sunday.  Continuation of the Gleason hoax, it waxing immense & compre-
hensive in progress.        A letter from an imaginary John Voorhees, dweller in a Church
Street brothel, complimenting Gleason on his  roaring  Sonnet, intimating that  as
he was going in strong into the smutty line, he sent him something he must own
was first chap , (an acrostic which I think boasts Rochester s authorship.)   Also
stating the willingness of  John Vorhees  to supply  tales with hair on  at $5 a
column, also demanding an agency for the sale of French cards and prints   as
 doubtless Gleason had a first rate stock on hand.     This Barth wrote. Then
I did a hell-fire letter purporting to be from Snow, or as he calls himself
the prophet Elyah, telling Gleason in so many words, that he and his generation
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Two: page one hundred and eighty-nine
Description:Describes a letter-writing hoax he and Barth played on Gleason as revenge for Gleason not paying for Gunn's drawing.
Date:1851-09-27
Subject:Barth, William; Bellow; Brothels; Crawford; Gleason; Governors Island (New York County, N.Y.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Holmes, John B.; Poetry; Practical jokes; Publishers and publishing; Snow; Waud, Alfred; Wilkins
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-07

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Two
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's attempts to find drawing work among New York publishers, brief employment in an architectural office, visits to his soldier friend William Barth on Governors Island, boarding house living, drawing at actor Edwin Forrest's home at Fonthill Castle, and sailing and walking trips taken with friends.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Military; Publishers and publishing; Religion; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.