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1788, appeared The Miscellaneous Works of Philip Freneau, containing his Essays and Additional Poems, in two volumes, published by Francis Bailey. In the fall of 1790, the Government was removed to Philadelphia, and on the 31st of October of the next year appeared the first number of the National Gazette, edited by Freneau, which was continued to October 26, 1793, and in which were given the first examples of that partisan abuse which has ever since been the shame of American politics." After the suspension of the Gazette, he published, in 1795, The Jersey Chronicle, at Mount Pleasant, which continued but a year. He then was engaged for many years in various voyages to Savannah, the West Indies, Madeira, &c., and in 1809 again settled in Philadelphia. During the second war with Great Britain he wrote numerous songs and ballads, and in 1815 published A Collection of Poems on American Affairs and a Variety of other Subjects, chiefly Moral and Political, written between 1795 and 1815. In his old age he resided in New Jersey, and died near Freehold, on the 18th of December, 1832. Freneau was undoubtedly a man of genius, and a very ready and versatile writer; and some of his early pieces of poetry, written when he was ambitious of literary distinction, are richly worthy of preservation. But most that he wrote was of an ephemeral character, strongly tinctured with partisan prejudices and vituperation, and has met with its deserved reward, oblivion.
THE DYING INDIAN.”
“On yonder lake I spread the sail no more :
* “In it Mr. Jefferson was continually referred to with expressions of fulsome adulation, and the public and private characters of Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Knox, and their associates, were vilified with unfaltering industry and malignity. The Rev. Dr. Dwight thus wrote at that time to Oliver Wolcott, then in Congress at Philadelphia:—“The late impertinent attacks on the Chief Magistrate are viewed with a general and marked indignation. Freneau, your printer, linguist, and so forth, is regarded here as a mere incendiary, or rather as a despicable tool of bigger incendiaries, and his paper as a public nuisance.’ That the “National Gazette' was entirely under Mr. Jefferson's control appears never to have been doubted. Freneau said, years after, to Dr. Francis, (of New York,) who became his physician, that it was among his greatest griefs that he had seemed to be an enemy to Washington, but that Mr. Jefferson had written or dictated whatever in the “Gazette' was reproachful or calumnious of that exalted character."—Griswold's Republican Court, p. 288. But in this case the Latin adage is especially "poleo facit per alium, facit per se.
To what strange lands must Chequi take his way !
Ah me! what mischiefs on the dead attend
I, too, must be a fleeting ghost no more;
Perplex'd with doubts, and tortured with despair,
The cheerful bottle and the venison store;
THE WILD hon EY SUCKLE.
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
By Nature's self in white array'd,
Smit with those charms, that must decay,
From morning suns and evening dews
THE PROSPECT OF PEACE.
Though clad in winter's gloomy dress!
No more the vales, no more the plains,
Peace guards our doors, impels our swains
1 The winter of 1814–15.
From distant climes, no longer foes,
Nations arrive, to find repose
And, if a more delightful scene
Ambitious aims and pride severe,
Through toiling care and lengthen’d views,
MAY TO APRIL.
I. Without your showers I breed no flowers; Each field a barren waste appears; If you don't weep, My blossoms sleep, They take such pleasure in your tears.
PHILLIS WHEATLEY PETERS, 1754–1784.
In the year 1761 there was brought to Boston, in a vessel from Africa, a young girl of about seven years of age, slenderly formed, in feeble health from the change of climate and the miseries of the voyage, and not able to speak a word of English. Mr. John Wheatley, a wealthy merchant, saw her, and, touched by her interesting face and modest demeanor, took her to his own house, and his wife, with a true woman's heart, devoted herself to the wants of the little stranger. In a short time, the effects of comfortable clothing, wholesome food, and kind treatment were clearly visible, and Mrs. Wheatley's daughter undertook to teach her to read and write. So astonishing was her progress, that in sixteen months from the time of her arrival in this humane family she had so mastered the English language as to read with ease any portion of the Bible; and to this attainment she soon added that of writing, which she acquired solely by her own unassisted efforts.
So rapid was her progress in learning, that she became an object of general attention, and corresponded with several persons of great distinction." She attracted the notice of the literary characters of Boston, who supplied her with books and encouraged her intellectual efforts. Mrs. Wheatley, too, did all she could to promote her happiness, and to aid her in the acquisition of knowledge, treating her as a child, and introducing her into the best society of Boston. But, notwithstanding all the attentions she received, she still retained her original and native modesty of deportment, and never presumed upon the kindness of her friends and admirers. She studied Latin, and, at the age of fourteen, made her first attempts at poetry, in translations from Ovid's Fables. So creditable were these to her scholarship, taste, and poetic talent, that she was encouraged to write
| Some years after this, she addressed a poem to General Washington, while he was at his head-quarters at Cambridge, Mass., February, 1776; who thus kindly replied:—“I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me in the elegant lines you enclosed; and, however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical talents, in honor of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the poem, had I not been apprehensive that, while I only meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public prints.
“If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near head-quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favored by the Muses, and to whom Nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations.”