Whitman

Whitman

Whitman

Whitman

Excerpt

WHITMAN came of English-Quaker stock on his father's side, and Dutch-Welsh stock on his mother's. His Dutch blood undoubtedly predominated in his nature, at least in his own estimation. But when his wide humanitarian feelings are considered, his restless mental activity, and even his insatiable desire to know America and its people, which led him to some extensive travels over America, his Welsh blood cannot be ignored. He is inevitably linked by these characteristics with Jefferson and with Jackson. The New England poets, Whittier, Longfellow, and Lowell, had no such interest in America at large. Whitman's love of an audience, his passion to sing himself, and his egotism, are all Celtic traits.

He was born to be the poet of the American nation by the fact of his democratic passions and his comprehensive interests. Whitman when writing Specimen Days in 1882 seems to have consulted Savage's Genealogical Dictionary . From that he was of the opinion that the Whitman name in the Eastern States started with John Whitman, born in England in 1602. Leon Bazalgette, who went into this question with evident care, placed the origin of the American Whitmans with Abijah Whitman, born in England in 1560. This Abijah had three sons. One was Zechariah, born 1595, who sailed to America in the True Love in 1635, and settled in Milford, Connecticut. This Zechariah established the line of the poet, first through a son named Joseph. Joseph crossed over from Connecticut some time before 1660 and settled in Huntington, Long Island . . .

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