Monday, May 6, 2019

Gansevoort Melville, friends and foes

Here are some more extracts from Gansevoort Melville's letters to William Edward Cramer in the Augusta Melville papers, now accessible online courtesy of The New York Public Library Digital Collections. Among his friends, Gansevoort specifically commended "Mr. Nichols" as "a spirited and graceful writer & an ardent Democrat."
I had occasion to write to Mr. Croswell today in regard to the "Young Hickory Banner." It was projected and will be carried out by the same gentleman who projected & who has in the main done up all the work of the "Sober Second Thought" with which Mr. Sickles' name appears associated. The individual to whom I allude is Mr. Nichols, a spirited and graceful writer & an ardent Democrat. In editing the "Young Hickory Banner" his aim is usefulness, not profit. Pray read the Prospectus.
--Letter from Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, July 19, 1844
"Mr. Nichols" is Thomas Low Nichols, editor of the Young Hickory Banner. "Mr. Sickles" is Daniel Edgar Sickles, editor of the Sober Second Thought, for the Presidential Campaign of 1844.

From Lockport, New York, Gansevoort instructed his friend Cramer to keep him out of Albany:
Do not let one friend add an appointment for Albany without my full previous concurrence.  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 9, 1844.
In Herman Melville: A Biography Vol. 1, 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996) page 327, Hershel Parker attributes this request to Gansevoort's understanding of "practical Albany politics." Whatever his political motives were for staying away from Albany, Gansevoort apparently had strong personal "reasons" as well. Writing from Syracuse, Gansevoort reminded Cramer:
"Recollect - No appointment for me in Albany. I have my reasons."  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 12, 1844.
Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer - October 16, 1844
Augusta Melville papers via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Aware of his haters in Albany, Gansevoort in another letter (from Utica on October 16, 1844) asked Cramer not to mention his name even privately among friends:
Again -- as to the many carpers, that you say I have at Albany -- let them carp. I care not one straw for all their carping. With the blessing of God I'll yet live to be a buckler to my friends and an edged weapon to my foes. Still I would avoid obtruding myself on their attention, and therefore in the gentlest manner possible would suggest to you that it may perhaps be prudent entirely to abstain from mentioning my name in general conversation -- & even in particular conversation with your intimates male & female unless in cases where you have a special object in so doing & even then rarely.  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 16, 1844.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Melville, Gansevoort" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1844 - 1845.

Related posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment