This is an addendum to the entry I wrote this morning. I have proof that Mathew Franklin Whittier, not Asa Greene (as historians have it) wrote "The Perils of Pearl Street, Including a Taste of the Dangers of Wall Street," by A Late Merchant. Bear with me, here...
Mathew's work begins appearing in the New York "Constellation"--whose editor-in-chief and founder was Asa Greene--in December of 1829. By 1830, Mathew appears to have been the acting editor, inasmuch as it is his work which fills the editorial pages. I have been through every issue of that paper, and have analyzed and archived every piece I suspect of being Mathew's through that publication's demise in 1832. I can make a very strong, if not iron-clad, case for his work in that paper, both signed and unsigned pieces. All this research is already done, and reported in my books.
I had already determined, by style, that "The Life and Adventures of Dr. Dodimus Duckworth," published by Greene in 1833, was Mathew's work.
Now, I find that one of Mathew's unsigned sketches in the "Constellation," published on the editorial page of the May 30 1830 edition, is actually a precursor to the book, "Perils." In fact, these are both Mathew giving us a semi-autobiographical account of his attempts to enter the wholesale dry goods market in New York City, with the primary intention of becoming successful so he could ask for Abby Poyen's hand in marriage, from her upper-class father. Abby is seen in "Perils" as one "Mary Dawson." There are dozens and dozens of clues and parallels--I've barely gotten through the first few chapters. But let's look at the strongest evidence, the precursor to this book. This is the editorial page of the May 8, 1830 "Constellation." Note that the piece I want to bring to your attention, "Robert Haymow. The Farmer's Son Turned Merchant," is the precursor in question, and it leads out the page, where normally one might find an editorial. But that isn't the only piece by Mathew, here. He prepared this entire page, and wrote most of it, himself. "Enoch Timbertoes" is his; and "Walking on the Battery" is a personal anecdote, an experience at his New York boarding house. (Asa Greene would not have lived in a boarding house--he either owned a house of his own, or perhaps lived above his bookstore.) "Old Maids as They Are" is similar to other works Mathew has written on this subject; and it reflects his penchant for championing the underdog. Clearly, something, or someone, has set him off.
Now, look at this portion of "Perils," and compare it to the lead piece in the "Constellation." Not only is it clearly the same author, but this is a somewhat fictionalized autobiographical account by the same person, i.e., Mathew. In the first piece it is the country-bumpkin-made-good who plays to the ladies; but in the book, published in 1834 when Mathew and Abby were actively courting, it is the shop-keeper. Otherwise, it's essentially the same story.
In order to prove that Asa Greene wrote this book, as historians believe, one would have to prove that he was the author of the sketch in the "Constellation," four years earlier, as well. But remember that I have some 1,600 of Mathew's published works at this point, all digitized and searchable, and I pretty-much know them backwards and forwards. That's how I was able to remember this sketch, when I started reading the corresponding piece in "Perils." It's a done deal, logically. Mathew Franklin Whittier was the real author of "Duckworth," "Perils," and probably most, if not all, of the other books published by Greene during this period. None of them are signed by Greene. They were submitted for copyright by Greene, and published by Greene.
Now, this may or may not be of interest to a few antiquarian booksellers, and a few literary historians. I think what's remarkable about it is that I can prove, to roughly the same level of confidence, that Mathew and Abby co-wrote the original of "A Christmas Carol," and that Mathew was the real author of "The Raven." Which, theoretically, a whole lot more people would be interested in.
But I am up against inertia and fear. That's right, fear. I had a retired historian, who did a little research for me recently, entitling one of his e-mails to me, in all caps, "YOUR WORK IS MASTERFUL." I kid you not. He said he was going to mention my work to his colleagues. But then when I specifically ask him to tell his colleagues that I have over 20 pieces of evidence that MFW was the real author of "The Raven," he doesn't write back. He's probably scared. He doesn't dare do that, even if he thinks my results might be genuine. He doesn't want to be laughed at.
I am looking at a pdf copy of this book, "The Perils of Pearl Street," on my desktop opposite this typing field. The librarian has pencilled in, over the signature "By A Late Merchant," the words "Greene, Asa." This drives me wild. It is hugely frustrating, to have the truth here, and essentially irrefutable proof of it, and yet I can't do anything with it. Once again, it feels like having a good one million dollar check, which no bank will agree to cash for entirely irrational reasons.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "I Imagine Myself," by the author