Today's Elites

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Curious Poe Quote Attacking Free Trade and Literary Piracy

"And in literature, as in piracy, the free trader always "runs up" the best at his fore; but had we done this, we should blush at our own impudence in knowing that we had been guilty of one of the most bare-faced pieces of literary swindling of modern days."

Perhaps, dear reader, this somewhat now historically blurry allusion requires some passing note of explanation. You see, the recent 1812 war with Britain which Poe's grandfather, who had been a quartermaster general and dear friend to Lafayette, in his eighties had lately fought in, was all about the British doctrine of "free trade" "impressment" of American sailor citizens as British property. Back then, Poe's audience would have immediately made the connection. For HRH East Indies Company was quite rightly reviled by American patriots such as Poe. The Chinese bore the brunt of Great Britain's geopolitical game then by being forced, in the guise of free trade, to submit to the shipment and infliction of the opium trade from Britain's Indian colony upon its haplessly addicted populace. That is until they declared war...Further, it was the Boston Brahmins with their Yankee clipper ships, the kissing cousins of our enemy in that war, that cried ever and anon for a piece of that very same free trade piracy. Not only this, dear reader, but the very same who were sponsors of sundry radical literary pursuits that Poe continuously decried. Especially the Young America cabal in and around Boston that Poe referred to as Frogpondians. (The very same Young Americans that later supported the confederacy. The article from which the above quote is taken refers to the slanderer of Poe, one Rufus Griswold, who pretended to oppose the Young America "movement.")

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