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If “W.,” at Haverhill, will continue to favor us with pieces, beautiful as the one inserted in our poetical department of to-day, we shall esteem it a favor.

The manner in which this came to him, and his immediate search for the author, are best described in Mr. Garrison's own words:

Going upstairs to my office, one day, I observed a letter1 lying near the door, to my address; which, on opening, I found to contain an original piece of poetry for my paper, the Free Press. The ink was very pale, the handwriting very small; and, having at that time a horror of newspaper “original poetry,” —which has rather increased than diminished with the lapse of time,—my first impulse was to tear it in pieces, without reading it; the chances of rejection, after its perusal, being as ninety-nine to one; . . . but, summoning resolution to read it, I was equally surprised and gratified to find it above mediocrity, and so gave it a place in my journal. . . . As I was anxious to find out the writer, my post-rider one day divulged the secret—stating that he had dropped the letter in the manner described, and that it was written by a Quaker lad, named Whittier, who was daily at work on the shoemaker's bench, with hammer and lapstone, at East Haverhill. Jumping into a vehicle, I lost no time in driving to see the youthful rustic bard, who came into the room with shrinking diffidence, almost unable to speak, and blushing like a maiden. Giving him some words of encouragement, I addressed myself more particularly to his parents, and urged them with great earnestness to grant him every possible facility for the development of his remarkable genius.

We continue the narrative from an editorial article in the National Philanthropist, still in Mr. Garrison's own2 words:

‘Almost as soon as he could write, he [Whittier] gave evidence of the precocity and strength of his poetical genius, and when unable to procure paper and ink, a piece of chalk or charcoal was substituted. He indulged his propensity for rhyming with so much secrecy, (as his father informed us,) that it was only by removing some rubbish in the garret, where he had concealed his manuscripts, that the discovery was made. This bent of his mind was discouraged by his parents: they were in indigent circumstances, and unable to give him a suitable ’

1 Ms., Lecture on Whittier.

2 April 11, 1828.

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John G. Whittier (2)
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April 11th, 1828 AD (1)
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