While we're at it, on the subject of Margaret Fuller's supposed authorship of the "star"-signed series in the 1844-46 New York "Tribune," here's another interesting clue that had earlier escaped me. Fuller was telling her Aunt Mary as early as Jan. 1845 (in response to her Aunt's guessing) that she was signing as the "star" in the Tribune. Actually, she capitalized it as "Star," in her letter, as a sort of Freudian slip. By March of the following year, some pro-capital punishment assholes were publicly hinting that Fuller was the author, as they responded to Mathew's anti-capital punishment review. It is on hints and rumors like these, which our supposedly rigorous scholars have based their assumption that Fuller wrote the series.
But I just found evidence that as of July 3, 1845, a much more credible source did not buy the rumor about Fuller as the author. In the June 25, 1845 edition, Mathew had written a mixed review about three books put out by the Swedenborgian church. He was a former Swedenborgian himself, and I gather that he had drifted away from the church organization because of excesses--specifically, because of creeping orthodoxy. This is precisely the same reason he had drifted away from the Quakerism of his birth.
The writer who responds to that review is, apparently, affiliated with that Church. He signs, in response to Mathew's "star," with a bold capital "C" which looks like a crescent moon. He begins by expressing his deep appreciation for Mathew's praise of Swedenborg, the man, but then goes on to protest Mathew's objections to his Church. But this writer--who should be in a far better position to know than the capital punishment advocates--clearly addresses the "star"-author as a man. Rest assured that members of the Swedenborgian church would be quite familiar with the leading Transcendentalists. If by this time the rumor had spread that Margaret Fuller was the "star"-signing author in the "Tribune," and if this author believed it, he would have addressed her accordingly.
One can say that the rumor simply hadn't arisen, publicly, by mid-1845. That's possible, but if anybody knew of it at this point, the Swedenborgian church leaders would have known. And the responder is not, in my opinion, "playing along" with Margaret Fuller's masculine persona. He does not seem to know whom he addresses, because he expresses surprise at the generous praise for Swedenborg. Had he known the writer was a former member of the Church, he wouldn't have done so. But clearly, if he is aware of the rumor that the author is Margaret Fuller (and remember that it was general knowledge that she was the literary editor of the "Tribune"), he doesn't believe it.
Here is the article in question.
Here. This is not Margaret Fuller, the famous Transcendentalist, upper-class snob, and liar. This is Mathew Franklin Whittier, the philosopher, reformer, and literary child prodigy who began publishing at age 12. The seeker of Truth who distanced himself from Quakerism when it became an orthodoxy, and did the same thing with Swedenborgianism. Who fought under cover for social causes like abolition of slavery, defeating capital punishment, abolishing debtors' prison, advocating for charitable institutions for the poor, the insane, and other unfortunates, plus humane treatment of animals; who encouraged and supported artists of all types who expressed genius and spiritual inspiration; and who studied and wrote almost continually. This is not Fuller, who was lazy, temperamental and neurotic, and whose literary output, by editor Horace Greeley's own admission, was a tenth of his own.
I was just looking at the New Age empire built by an unnamed person, regarding survival after death. Doesn't anyone notice how slick it is? I had thought to suggest myself as a guest on this person's radio show, but you can't even find contact information. You can pay money for the book, or to attend a conference, or perhaps to become some kind of "insider," but you can't get on the show. Doesn't anyone realize that the famous people are the imitators who have sold out--and the real pioneers are the ones who work behind the scenes, and are barely even recognized, publicly?
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. I had mentioned that I had another story in the New York "Tribune" which was almost certainly Mathew's work, so that I could place him in New York, writing for that paper, even without the "star"-signed reviews. Here it is, in the July 24, 1845 edition. It has been placed directly after Mathew's star-signed article, an ongoing discussion following an essay on "The Irish Character." The humorous sketch is entitled "How a Tailor Collected a Debt." It has a number of identifiers, including that it portrays a Quaker, that it is an anecdote from real life, the puns placed in italics, and the excellence with which it is written. I literally could show you dozens and dozens like it (including written under "Quails"). But the strongest clue is in the phrase, "knight of the shears and thimble." Here's a similar example in a series by Mathew about "Cornelius Cabbage," in the June 19, 1830 New York "Constellation":
Mathew loved this figure of speech, and would use variations of it for different occupations and avocations, frequently. Note also in the above example, that the pun on the word "orders" has been italicized, just as we see in the story about the Quaker. This is Mathew's work--and as he often does, he has arranged for it to immediately follow his "star"-signed column. I don't know whether he did this to "mark" the "star" as his own for posterity, or not--but having seen him do this a number of times, I rather suspect he did. If so, this amounts to a signal sent from Mathew to his future self, across roughly a span of 175 years.
Music opening this page: "One of These Things is Not Like the Others," from Sesame Street