Thursday, October 05, 2006


Thoreau and Bellew

A couple of years ago, before I owned a copy of Thoreau's Journals, I wrote the following.

Thoreau, Journals, October 19, 1855:
Talking with Bellew this evening about Fourierism and communities, I said that I suspected any enterprise in which two were engaged together. "But," said he, "it is difficult to make a stick stand unless you slant two or more against it." "Oh, no," answered I, "you may split its lower end into three, or drive it single into the ground, which is the best way; but most men, when they start on a new enterprise, not only figuratively, but really, pull up stakes. When the sticks prop one another, none, or only one, stands erect."
I wonder if Bellew could possibly be Adin Ballou (1803-1890), who founded the Hopedale utopian community in Massachusetts.

I see now that the index to the Torrey-Allen edition of Thoreau's Journals identifies Bellew as "F.A.T. Bellew". Someone just sent me an email suggesting that Thoreau meant artist and cartoonist Frank Henry Temple Bellew (1828-1888). Frank Bellew did write Recollections of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in "News and Notes," in The Literary World (July 12, 1884), p. 12, which I have not seen.

I would be interested in further evidence that Thoreau's interlocutor was actually Frank Henry Temple Bellew.

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