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Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2014, Volume 35

Journal. 1839.

by Christopher Pearse Cranch

Appendix 1

From the May 20, 1839 letter to Clarke, with further comments on the draft caricatures, the ministry, and the Western Messenger.
Albeit I wrote the last letter which passed between us, my pen yearneth to speak to thee again. I know that my poor epistles scarce deserve the happiness of being replied to, by such as thine—and perhaps in the multitude of cares—amid sermons and editorials, and multifarious readings and writings you hardly find time to bestow so much of yourself upon your correspondents as they could desire. Yet, verily, this shall not deter me from communing with thee, my friend; this is a pleasure I can not easily relinquish. Having had one sip of the fountain, I would not willingly be removed from it. Send forth, therefore, I beseech thee, a few drops of thy refreshing streams. My heart will bless you for it, if my poor wits can not adequately repay you.
I have taken up my abode you perceive in this Philadelphia, and am minister to the new society at the "Northern Liberties" for some weeks. They are at present a feeble folk like the conies, and poor in this world's goods; but I trust they may increase, and their latter end be respectable. I should like it right well, could I be the means of building up a church among them. Time will show what can be done. I have been supplying Mr. Furness' pulpit a few Sundays, while he went northward. By the way, I lent him my Emersonian scraps [sketches] to take on with him, and it seems by sundry external signs upon them since they were returned to me, that they have been considerably thumbed and pocketed. Great men have looked upon them. The genius of a Dewey and a Channing hath stopped to smile condescendingly on them. Our fame, friend, groweth. It hath been budding with the spring. We are linked in celebrity, and thus will descend to posterity as the immortal illustrators of the great Transcendentalist! When all trades fail, let us take to caricaturing. We have humors that way. I did not, by the way, hear the echo of your laugh over the last scraps I sent you from Washington. Pray tell me if you received them safe out of the vulgar hands of the men of the post office. I would not have these sacred mysteries bared to common daylight and to uninitiated and vulgar risibilities. Pray tell me that you received them. I heard in fancy your laugh for a week. Do write that laugh on paper, and send us a scrap of your own.
O my brother, we need your poetic faculty to quicken us in this life. My wits have brought forth little but thorns and weeds since thy rain and sunshine were withdrawn. True, when I was at home, the quiet atmosphere of that loved spot, backed by the influences of the opening spring, and the bees and blossoms, did call forth some fruit—such as it was. And I did commence a Spenserian stanza poem which I shall probably never complete. I wrote near forty stanzas. It is a love tale, thus far. But I got dissatisfied with it. I followed my own experience too closely. Besides, it does not look ministerial. Should I publish, what would the world say, etc., etc.—comes into my mind. What have I to do with writing and publishing such stuff?
I perceive you are relieved of the immediate care of the "Messenger". I wish you joy. I hope Channing will not mix in too much abolitionism. Look out for southern subscribers, if you don't take care.
I saw young Huidekoper a week ago, who was just about embarking for Europe. Chandler Robbins also I met in New York just before he sailed. I had a good time in New York at the dedication of Dewey's church. I don't like the name—do you? He preached a grand sermon though. And Fanny Parkman who seems to be midwife general to all the churches which are legitimate, made an excellent dedicatory prayer.
But now, no more. Tempus est stopendi. Windum up est. Write to us if we have any place in your memory. Remember me to each and all of my good Louisville friends. I remember them all with interest.
Ever your friend and brother,
C. P. C.

Appendix 2

At the end of his 21 June 1839 letter to his brother from Philadelphia, Cranch said he was reading Hazlitt's "Spirit of the Ages," "Specimens of Foreign Literature, being Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe (translated by Miss Fuller), and Cousin, who "does much to strengthen my faith." Furthermore, he added, "To show you how far he is, and I too, from 'Transcendentalism', I will scratch off a few lines I wrote yesterday while reading him.
Kant affirms that Reason can't Give certainty to what we want, But only must suppose it. But Nature and God we must reject, if The light of Reason is subjective:— So doth Cousin disclose it. So I'd rather with Cousin Let Kant and Fichte hang! Their creed is surely worse than all. The Will alone is personal. Fact of Reason—Facts of sense, Both are necessary, Universal also;—hence Let us all be wary Lest we get too transcendental, Else we surely shall repent all, Tumbling into Idealism, Pantheism, Atheism, Seeing Truth through such a prism.