London Poets and the American Revolution

London Poets and the American Revolution

London Poets and the American Revolution

London Poets and the American Revolution

Synopsis

In this book, Gaston makes available 125 poems that appeared in London periodicals between the years of 1763-1783, most of which have not been published since. The poems focus on the Revolutionary War and its impact on the British people, giving fresh insights into the way in which the British public viewed the war.

Excerpt

Thomas Jefferson and his associates in the Second Continental Congress in 1776 recognized that when men resort to such an audacious enterprise as the Declaration of Independence, "a decent regard to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them." This publication will startle mankind a bit less, but an anthology of poems from 18th-century periodicals is unusual enough. One does feel, like Jefferson, a certain obligation to be forthright about one's motives.

The cause which impelled me is a man whom I haven't met elsewhere in English literature. He is a fascinating Englishman, a witty, sensitive, and articulate man who is deeply involved in the issues and events of the American Revolution. Because of this involvement he is beset by a multitude of dilemmas: some of his leaders are deceitful; some are incompetent; some are admirable; and some are all of these by turns. He prays earnestly for peace, but he has serious misgivings about his church. He supports the government's measures against the Americans with his sons and his money, but seldom with his heart. He seems at times to be living in a maelstrom, and it occurs to him more than once that England herself may not survive these years. Yet he is a resourceful man, and he never stops finding much that is laughable and much that is noble in his world. the poems in this anthology offer an opportunity for a unique and memorable encounter with this man.

Like most such meetings, however, this one is apt to be more rewarding if we begin it with certain basic information already in hand. Thus my aim for this Introduction: a few pieces of shared knowledge about the man and his concerns, a few conversation starters. a convenient way to store these bits of information is to arrange them about the three roles or relationships which secure our subject's claim to the poems. First, they . . .

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