Person:John Whittier (6)

  1. John Greenleaf Whittier1807 - 1892
Facts and Events
Name John Greenleaf Whittier
Gender Male
Birth[1][2] 17 Dec 1807 Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts, United StatesJohn Greenleaf Whittier Homestead
Death[1] 7 Sep 1892 Hampton Falls, Rockingham, New Hampshire, United States
Reference Number? Q458372?
Burial[1] Amesbury, Essex, Massachusetts, United States

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He is usually listed as one of the Fireside Poets. Whittier was strongly influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Highly regarded in his lifetime and for a period thereafter, he is now remembered for his poem Snow-Bound, and the words of the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, from his poem "The Brewing of Soma", frequently sung to the tune "Repton" by Hubert Parry.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Greenleaf Whittier, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2. John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  3.   Unattributed Biographical Sketch.

    "WHITTIER, John Greenleaf, poet, was born in the East Parish of Haverhill. Mass., Dec. 17, 1807; son of John (1760-1830) and Abigail (Hassey) Whittier; grandson of Joseph (1716-1796) and Sarah (Greenleaf) Whittier and of Samuel and Mercy (Evans) Hussey; great-grandson of Joseph Peaseley, from whom the Quaker element in the family was derived, and great2-grandson of Thomas Whittier of Southampton, England, who sailed in the Confidence, April 24, 1638, for Boston, Mass.; settled in Salisbury, Mass., whence he was sent as a deputy to the general court; married a distant relative, Ruth Green, and in 1647 located permanently in Haverhill. The surname of his paternal grandmother, Sarah Greenleaf, was originally Feuilleverts, the family being of French Huguenot extraction. John Greenleaf Whittier's boyhood was spent in the simple, rural surroundings of a country home, where he did his share of the many rough tasks incident to farm life, incurring, when about seventeen years of age, injuries from overwork, which resulted in permanent frailty. His educational advantages were naturally meagre. Until 1820 he had attended only the district schools and had had access to but few books of the quality to appeal to his literary tastes. The first pregnant event in his early career was the awakening of his poetic instinct by reading the poems of Burns, a copy of which had been given him by his teacher, Joshua Coffin, who became an antiquary of note, and to whom Whittier subsequently addressed a poem entitled 'To My Old Schoolmaster.' The impulse inspired by the poetry of Burns found its expression in many crude attempts at verse making, of which scarcely a remnant remains, Whittier's first published poems being 'The Exile's Departure,' and 'The Deity,' which appeared in the Free Press of Newburyport, respectively, June 8 and June 22, 1826; Their publication led to the second, and not less vital incident in his development. William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the Free Press, sought out his young contributor at Haverhill, the meeting resulting in a lifelong friendship based upon mutual and active interests in the national problems of the day. Thus it was partly due to Garrison's influence and partly to that of Abijah W. Thayer, editor of the Portland Gazette, to which Whittier also contributed some of his early verses, that the latter was finally permitted to begin a classical education. Through his own efforts Whittier earned sufficient money to attend Haverhill academy for six months in 1827 and for a similar period in 1828, meanwhile teaching a district school in West Amesbury, Mass. Under various pen-names, including 'Adrian,' 'Donald,' 'Timothy,' 'Micajah,' and 'Ichabod,' be contributed poems to the Boston Statesman, the National Philanthropist and the Gazette, Mr. Thayer of the last publication proposing in 1828 to bring out by subscription a volume entitled 'The Poems of Adrian,' but the enterprise did not materialize. Whittier was at this time also becoming known as a prose writer: The materials he had collected for a history of Haverhill, He gave, in 1828, to one B. L. Mirirk, by whom the work was completed (1831). From December, 1828, to August, 1829, Whittier edited the American Manufacturer of Boston, a political journal devoted to the interests of Henry Clay, and during this period wrote his famous poetical tribute to 'Harry of the West.' After leaving the editorship of the Manufacturer, Whittier was engaged in managing his father's farm until the latter's death in June, 1830, and also edited the Haverhill Gazette, January-June, 1830. In the following July he assumed charge of the New England Review of Hartford. Conn., with which he remained until January, 1832. His first book, Legends of New England, in Prose and Verse, appeared in 1831, also his poem 'Moll [p.398] Pitcher,' and from 1831 to 1835 he contributed both prose and verse to the Hartford Pearl, the Colubian Star, the Connecticut Mirror, the Ladies' Magazine, the Haverhill his and the New England Magazine. In 1832, Whittier returned to Haverhill, and henceforth gave his most earnest attention to politics. In his view the possession of artistic powers implied a divine commission to lift and invigorate mankind, and his heart and mind became absorbed in the agitation against slavery, although he fully realized that the rôle of an abolitionist meant death to both his poetical and political ambitions. A radical change naturally followed in the character of his writings, his poetical talent now becoming valuable only as the means by which he could personally best advocate the cause of anti-slavery, for thirty years his lyrics on freedom appealing to an ever-widening audience. Closely identified with him from the first in his work as a reformer was his friend Garrison, to whose views Whittier became an ardent convert. He published his first anti-slavery pamphlet, 'Justice and Expediency' in the spring of 1833, which, as 'Justice the highest expediency,' became the watchword of his political party. He was a delegate to the National Anti-Slavery convention at Philadelphia in December, 1833; and became an opponent of the Colonization society, to which he had previously been friendly. He was made corresponding secretary of the Haverhill Anti-Slavery society in 1834; represented Haverhill in the general court, 1835; and encountered the riot at Concord, N.H., Sept. 4, 1835. He was again editor of the Haverhill Gazette, May-December, 1836; the family removing in July to Amesbury, Mass., where his sister Elizabeth was soon after elected president of the local Women's Anti-Slavery society. He became assistant editor and subsequently editor of the National Enqirer of Philadelphia, an anti-slavery publication, subsequently called the Pennsylvania Freeman, his office being destroyed by a mob, May 17, 1838, and in February, 1840, formally severed his connection with the paper on account of ill health. Meanwhile he attended county, state and national anti-slavery conventions; was officially connected with several organizations, being a secretary of the American Anti-Slavery society, 1837; was actively influential, in 1837, in securing in the Massachusetts legislature the passage of the resolutions favoring abolition in the District of Columbia; became a member of the 'new organization,' so-called, of abolitionists favoring political action, and in 1839 was deputed by the American AntiSlavery society to solicit seventy public speakers in Pennsylvania to promulgate the cause throughout the country. In 1837 appeared the first edition of Whittier's poems (published without his knowledge), entitled Poems written during the Progress of the Abolition Question in the United States between the years 1830 and 1833, and a second volume was published by the Anti-Slavery Society of Pennsylvania in 1838. He contributed to the first number of the Democratic Review, October, 1837, which magazine continued to publish nearly all his anti-slavery writings until 1847; was a founder of the Liberty party (being known as its 'Laureate'); supported James G. Birney for the Presidency in 1840 and 1844, and declined the candidacy of his party for election as representative in the 28th congress from the North Essex district in 1842. In 1843 his Lays of My Home and Other Poems was published, being the first book from which the poet received any remuneration. He was editor of the Middlesex Standard, 1844-45, changing its name to the Essex Transcript and making it an organ of the Liberty party; presented with Henry Wilson, a petition to congress, signed by 65,000 names, against the admission of Texas a State, and was a delegate to the Liberty convention at Washington, December, 1845. He penned many satirical writings during the early political campaigns of the Free-Soil party: was corresponding editor of the National Era of Washington, 1847-60; was active in effecting the election of George S. Boutwell as governor of Massachusetts in 1850, and also in persuading Charles Sumner to accept the Free-Soil candidacy for U.S. senator, and took a prominent purl in the Fremont campaign. His poem Ichabod. written in response to Webster's speech of March 7, 1850, created a popular furor in Washington, and in after years the poet himself felt its denunciation unjustifiedly bitter. He contributed regularly to the Atlantic Monthly from its inception in 1857, notably the campaign songs of 1860, his' Barbara Frietchie,' and many of his famous 'In War Time' poems, which won him an invitation from Brigadier-General Rice to visit the Army of the Potomac in 1864. The final achievement of emancipation, to the accomplishment of which Whittier had devoted his life, from 1833, called from the poet his celebrated 'Laus Deo,' which was first published, Feb. 9, 1865. He was a presidential elector on the Lincoln and Johnson ticket in 1865, and vice-president of the meeting held at Faneuil Hall, Boston, in June, 1865, to consider plans for reconstruction. From 1865 to 1870, Whittier was engaged in writing his Snow-Bound, the Tent on the Beach, and Among the Hills; was active in securing the rescinding of the resolution of censure passed upon Sumner by the Massachusetts legislature in 1873, and upon the death of Sumner was commissioned by the state to write an ode for his memorial [p.399] service. In 1875 he received a letter of thanks from the Waldensian synod for his poem, 'The Vaudois Teacher,' which, translated into French, had become a household favorite among the Waldenses, declined the commission to write the ode for the Centennial exposition at Philadelphia, in 1876, which was eventually written by Bayard Taylor, Whittier agreeing to write the hymn for the same occasion, after Taylor's withdrawal of his hymn, already prepared in compliance with a previous commission. In December, 1877, upon the occasion of Whittier's seventieth birthday, many notable tributes to his talent were published in the Literary World, and on the anniversary day, December 17, a dinner was given in his honor, at Hotel Brunswick, Boston, by the publisher of the Atlantic Monthly, on which occasion be received a memorable ovation. His eightieth birthday was also fittingly celebrated in Boston, and a testimonial portfolio containing Senator George F. Hoar's address on the occasion, and several hundred autographs of prominent officials and citizens, was presented to Whittier. The last years of his life were passed quietly at the home of his cousins at 'Oak Knoll,' Danvers, Mass., with occasional journeys for the benefit of his health. His home in East Haverhill became the property of the Whittier Memorial association. His valuable colonial histories were presented to the Amesbury and Haverhill public libraries. The honorary degree of A.M. was conferred upon him by Harvard and by Haverford in 1860, and that of LL.D. by Harvard. 1886, of which institution he was an overseer, 1858-64. He was a member of the American Philosophical society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His distinguished coterie of friends, to whom he addressed poems or lines on various instances, included Garrison. Channing, Rantoul, Sumner, the Sewalls, Lydia Maria Child, Bayard Taylor, James T. Fields and Mrs. Fields, Agassiz, Holmes and Bryant. His poems, in general, embrace the purely descriptive; the narrative, or legendary, in which element he was one of the first to perceive poetical significance; the historical, and these touching directly or indirectly upon the question of slavery, the last class comprising by far the greatest proportion. Whittier edited: 'Literary Remains of Jetta G. C. Brainard, with a Biographical Sketch' (1832); 'Views of Slavery and Emancipation,' by Harriet Martineau (1837); 'Letters from John Quincy Adams to his Constituents' (1837); 'The North Star; the Poetry of Freedom, by her Friends' (1840); 'A Visit to the United States in 1841' by Joseph Sturgé (1842); 'The Patience of Hope,' by Dora Greenwell (1863); 'Child Life, a Collection of Poems' (1871); 'The Journal of John Woolman' (1872); 'Child Life in Prose,' with Lucy Larcom (1874); 'Songs of Three Centuries,' an anthology (1876); 'Letters of Lydia Maria Child' (1883); 'American Literature, and Other Palpers' by E. P. Whipple (1887). He is the author of the collected and separate works (exclusive of those already mentioned): Moll Pitcher (1832) republished with the Minstrel Girl (1840); Mogg Megone (1836); Miscellaneous Poems (1844); The Stranger in Lowell (1845); Voices of Freedom (1846); The Supernaturalism of New England (1847); Poems (1849); Leaves from Margaret Smith's Journal (1849); Poetical Works (London, 1850); Songs of Labor, and Other Poems (1850); Old Portraits and Modern Sketches (1850); The Chapel of the Hermits and Other Poems (1858); Literary Recollections and Miscellanies (1854); The Panorama, and Other Poems (1856); Poeticed Works (1857 rev. ed., 1867); The Sycamores (1857); Home Ballads, Poems and Lyrics (1860); Snow-Bound, A Winter Idyl (1866); Prose Works (2 vols., 1866); Maud Muller (1867); National Lyrics (1867); Ballads of New England (1870); Two Letters on the Present Aspect of the Society of Friends (1870); Miriam, and Other Poems (1871); The Pennsylvania Pilgrim, and Other Poems (1872); Complete Poetical Works (1874; 1876; 1880; 1881); Mabel Martin, and Other Poems (1874); Hazel Blossoms (1875); Vision of Echard, and Other Poems (1878); The River-Path (1880); The King's Missive, and Other Poems (1881); The Bay of Seven Islands, and Other Poems (1883); Poetical Works (1885); Poems of Nature (1886); Saint Gregory's Guest, and Recent Poems (1886); Poetical and Prose Works (7 vols., 1888); At Sundown (1890-1892); Poetical Works, with Life (London, 1891). See: 'Poets and Poetry of America' by R. W. Griswold (1856); his 'Life, Genius, and Writings 'by W.S. Kennedy (1882); 'Biography' by F. H. Underwood (1884); 'The Poet of Freedom' by W. S. Kennedy in 'American Reformers' Series (1892); 'A Memorial, from his Native City, Haverhill, Mass.' (1893); 'Life' by W. J. Linton (1893);"