AUTOGRAPH LETTER, SIGNED (ALS). 1 page, quarto bifolium. To Samuel Bowles, dated 20 October 1840. A letter to Samuel Bowles, editor and publisher of the SPRINGFIELD REPUBLICAN, declining an invitation to speak at the Mechanics Lyceum. John Neal (1793-1876), novelist, journalist, Portland, Maine, businessman, was one of American's better early novelists and the closest rival of James Fenimore Cooper in fiction. "From January 1828 to the end of 1829 he edited a literary periodical, the YANKEE, published first at Portland, later at Portland and Boston in fusion with the BOSTON LITERARY GAZETTE. As a writer of most of the articles he voiced his opinions on temperance, phrenology, utilitarianism, and other hobbies, and encouraged young contributors, among them Whittier and Poe, The latter remarked that Neal gave him 'the very first words of encouragement I ever remember to have heard' (the YANKEE, December 1829)." - DAB. Samuel Bowles (1826-1878) was a pioneer in the establishment of independent journalism and for a quarter of a century one of the real leaders of American opinion. Paper residue with slight loss on verso at right fore-edge where removed from an album, old catalogue description (for a different letter!) pasted to lower right edge of recto, very good. (#164629).