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years of war, had passed through his hands, amounted only to 14,479 pounds, 18 shillings, 9 pence sterling. Nothing was charged or retained for personal services; and actual disbursements had been managed with such economy and fidelity, that they were all covered by the above moderate sum. After accounting for all his expenditures of public money, (secret-service money, for obvious reasons, excepted,) with all the exactness which established forms required from the inferior officers of his army, he hastened to resign into the hands of the fathers of his country the powers with which they had invested him. This was done in a public audience. Congress received him as the founder and guardian of the republic. While he appeared before them, they silently retraced the scenes of danger and distress through which they had passed together. They recalled to mind the blessings of freedom and peace purchased by his arm. They gazed with wonder on their fellow-citizen, who appeared more great and worthy of esteem in resigning his power than he had done in gloriously using it. Every heart was big with emotion. Tears of admiration and gratitude burst from every eye. The general sympathy was felt by the resigning hero, and wet his cheek with a manly tear. * * * His own sensations, after retiring from public business, are thus expressed in his letters:– “I am just beginning to experience the ease and freedom from public cares, which, however desirable, it takes some time to realize; for, strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that it was not until lately I could get the better of my usual custom of ruminating, as soon as I awoke in the morning, on the business of the ensuing day; and of my surprise on finding, after revolving many things in my mind, that I was no longer a public man, or had any thing to do with public transactions. I feel as I conceive a wearied traveller must do, who, after treading many a painful step with a heavy burden on his shoulders, is eased of the latter, having reached the haven to which all the former were directed, and, from his housetop, is looking back, and tracing with an eager eye the meanders by which he escaped the quicksands and mires which lay in his way, and into which none but the all-powerful Guide and Dispenser of human events could have prevented his falling.”
JOHN TRUMBULL, 1750–1831.
John TRUMBULL, the author of the celebrated poem Me Fingal, was born in
Waterbury, Connecticut, on the 24th of April, 1750. His father was a Congrega
tional clergyman, of a family distinguished in the literary and political annals of
Connecticut, and fitted his son for Yale College, where he graduated in 1767, the first in his class for genius and attainments, though but seventeen years of age. He then remained three years at college as a resident graduate, devoting himself principally to the study of polite letters, and forming many valuable acquaintances, among whom was Timothy Dwight, afterwards President of the college. In 1771, Trumbull and Dwight were elected tutors of the college, and exerted all their energies to introduce an improved system of study and discipline in the institution. In 1772, Trumbull published the first part of The Progress of Dulness, a satirical poem in Hudibrastic verse, exposing to ridicule the absurd methods of education that then prevailed. Tom Brainless, a dunce, is sent to college, and, with a little smattering of Latin and Greek, is transferred to a country minister to study theology, and in due time is “ground out” a preacher. In the second part a blow is aimed at the coxcombry of fashionable life in the person of Dick Hairbrain, a conceited and idle fop. The third part describes the life and fortunes of Miss Harriet Simper, who in ignorance and folly, if not in hooped rotundity, is the counterpart of the said Hairbrain, by whose charms she is captivated. But, failing in her efforts, she consoles herself in later years with the love of the proound Brainless, and their marriage concludes the poem.
* s THE FOP's DECLINE.
How pale the palsied fop appears,
Which calms in youth, the blast of rage,
Thus Harriet, rising on the stage,
On Sunday, see the haughty maid
As though they meant to take by blows
While acting as tutor, Trumbull gave all his leisure time to the study of law, *nd in 1773 was admitted to the bar of Connecticut; and soon his professional Prospects were very flattering. But his heart was always more in literature than in law. In 1775, he published the first part of McFingal, and when he removed with his family” to Hartford, in 1781, he completed it. This poem, in four cantos,
. Young people of different sexes used then to sit in the opposite galleries. R o 1776, he was married to Miss Sarah Hubbard, daughter of Leverett ubbard.
which had such great celebrity in its day, is in the Hudibrastic vein, and an admirable imitation of the great satire of Butler. Its hero is a Scottish justice of the peace, a high Tory, residing, near Boston; and the first two cantos are chiefly occupied with a discussion at a “Town Meeting” between him and one Honorious, a stanch Whig, who takes the American side in politics. The meeting ends in a riot. In the third canto, McFingal is seized by the mob, tried at the foot of the “Liberty Pole,” convicted of Toryism, and sentenced to “tar and feathers.” In the fourth and last canto, McFingal assembles his Tory friends in a cellar, harangues them upon their disastrous prospects, and, by virtue of his second-sight, foretells the calamities that would befall the British arms, and the sure success of the cause of freedom. His speech is suddenly interrupted by an invasion of his old enemies, the company is dispersed, the hero escapes to Boston, and the poem closes.
CHARACTER OF MCFINGAL.
When Yankees," skill'd in martial rule
! Yankees, a term formerly of derision, but now merely of distinction, given to the people of the four Eastern States.—Lon. Edit.
2 Lord Percy commanded the party that was first opposed to the Americans at Lexington. This allusion to the family renown of Chevy-Chase arose from the precipitate manner of his lordship's quitting the field of battle and returning to }}oston.—Lon. Edit.
* See Fingal, an ancient epic poem, published as the work of Ossian, a Cale: donian bard of the third century, by James McPherson. The complete name of Ossian, according to the Scottish nomenclaturo, will be Ossian Me Fingal.
'Gainst kings stood forth, and many a crown'd head
McFINGAL's VISION OF AMERICAN GREATNEss.
And see, (sight hateful and tormenting!)
These specimens will give the reader some idea of the merits of two poems that, in their day, had a wide celebrity, but which are now very little read.
After filling many honorable offices, in 1801 Trumbull was appointed a Judge of the Superior Court. In 1820, a collection of his poems was made, in two volumes octavo, to which he prefixed a memoir. In 1825, he removed to Detroit, to reside with his daughter, the wife of Hon. William Woodbridge, with whom he remained till the time of his death, which took place in May, 1831.
Judge Trumbull maintained through life an honorable and upright character. As a scholar, a wit, a gentleman, he was greatly admired by all who knew him, and he has left a name which must always sustain a conspicuous place in the early history of American letters.”
'They who wish to understand the nature and modus operandi of the Highland vision by second-sight, may consult the profound Johnson, in his “Tour to the Hebrides.” Lon. Edit.
* President Dwight thus writes of Trumbull's poem:—“It may be observed, without any partiality, that McFingal is not inferior in wit and humor to Hudi