Great Barrington 20 Feb. 1818.
Yours of the 15th and 16th by Gen. Whiting have been received. 1 I feel obliged to you for the trouble you have taken on my account. I suppose I am to review the book mentioned by Phillips. 2 If I can procure it I will undertake the task. My situation here is not such as to afford me much opportunity of adding to the information which I already possess respecting this subject. This is like most other villages--there are not many who suffer an excessive passion for books to interfere with other employments or amusements--they incumber their houses with no overgrown libraries. This scarcity of books I find extremely inconvenient. 3 As you observe, I believe I have read most of the American poets of any note--Dwight--Trumbull--Barlow--Humphreys--Paine--Clif[f]ton--Honeywood. The writings of Hopkins I have never met with. I have seen Philip Freneau's poems and some things by Francis Hopkinson. I have read most of Mrs. Morton's productions and turned over a volume of stale and senseless rhymes by Mrs. Warren. There was a Dr. Ladd (I believe I am right in the name) of Rhode Island, who it seems was considerably celebrated for his poetical talent, of whom I have seen hardly any thing-and another Dr. Church a Tory at the commencement of the revolution who was compelled to leave the country, and some of whose satirical verses which I have heard recited possess considerable merit as specimens of forcible and glowing invective. Before the time of the writers whom I have enumerated, 4 some of whom are still living and the rest belong to the generation which has just passed away, I imagine that we could hardly be said to have any poetry of our own--and indeed it seems to me that American poetry may justly enough be said to have had its rise with that knot of Connecticut poets Trumbull and others, most of whose works appeared about the time of the revolution or soon after.
Any facts relating to the subject which may occur to you, of which I may be ignorant or not aware, I should be obliged to you to suggest to me. Perhaps I may visit Cummington before next June in which case opportunities will be greater. I remember in the American Review and Monthly Magazine published some eighteen or twenty years ago considerable information on this subject and some biographies of our poets. 5
It is not in my power to send you the address you mention as it was printed in the Berkshire Star and I have not the paper in which it appeared. 6 It was hasty and very imperfect and I was reluctant to suffer it to be published and should not have consented but for the solicitation of Mr. Wheeler, our parson. The good man was so importunate and so confident that it would be good on account of the quarter from which it came it not being usual for young lawyers in this part of the country to har-