MANUSCRIPT: Pierpont Morgan Library ADDRESS: Charles Sedgwick Esq. / Stockbridge
PUBLISHED: Charles I. Glicksberg, "Bryant and the Sedgwick Family," Americana, 31 ( October 1937), 627-628.
Bryant apparently met Charles Sedgwick ( 1791-1856) at the county court in
Lenox soon after starting law practice in Berkshire County. Admitted to the bar in 1814, Sedgwick became clerk of courts in 1821, and served in this position until his
death in 1856. In 1874 the town of Lenox established in his name the Charles Sedgwick Library, in the handsome former courthouse, built in 1816, in which he served so
long, and which is still occupied by the Lenox Library Association. Sedgwick, Life and
Letters, p. 121; [Beers] Berkshire County, I, 303, 329; II, 209. Charles Sedgwick Letters to His Family and Friends was privately printed at Boston in 1870.
Robert Treat Paine, Jr. ( 1773-1811), "Adams and Liberty: The Boston Patriotic Song" ( 1798). It is not clear for what purpose Bryant and Sedgwick wished to
improve this popular ode. It may have been recited or sung at the Fourth of July
celebration in Stockbridge, where Bryant, discussing the recently adopted Missouri
Compromise, made his first public attack on the institution of slavery. An Oration,
Delivered at Stockbridge, July 4th, 1820 (Stockbridge, 1820).
Cf. Paine: "The trident of commerce should never be hurl'd, / To incense the
legitimate powers of the ocean."
Cf. Paine, stanza 9: "And swear to the God of the ocean and land, / That ne'er
shall the sons of Columbia be slaves."
61. To Willard Phillips
Great Barrington Aug. 19, 1820
I have just been able to procure Percy's Masque--and now that I
have got it, will set about reviewing it as fast as I can. I will send the
article as early at least as the middle of September--perhaps earlier. I am
told the author of Percy's Masque is a countryman of ours.-- I think it a
very creditable specimen of our genius in the way of tragedy.
1 --My regards to my Boston acquaintances--
WILLIAM C. BRYANT
MANUSCRIPT: MHS ADDRESS: Willard Phillips Esq--.
Phillips wrote on August 4 (NYPL-BG) asking Bryant to review for the October NAR James A. Hillhouse's verse drama, Percy's Masque ( London, 1819). Its publication in England accounted for Bryant's initial uncertainty of its author's nationality. In his notice Bryant stressed the special understanding of character and feeling
for natural speech demanded of the tragic dramatist who would succeed in this, the
most difficult of poetic tasks. He thought the author had succeeded only in making a
"respectable production." NAR, 11 ( October, 1820), 364-393.
62. To Miss Sarah S. Bryant
Lenox, Oct. 20, 1820
I expected to have heard from you before this time when I saw you
last, as I believe you owe me a letter or two; but my communications