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Trumbull, John 1750-1843

Poet; born in Westbury (since Watertown), Conn., April 24, 1750; graduated at Yale College in 1767, having been admitted to the college at the age of seven years, such was his precocity in acquiring learning; but he did not reside there until 1763, on account of delicate health. In 1773 he was admitted to the bar, having been two years a tutor in Yale College. During that time he wrote his first considerable poem, The progress of dulness. He was a warm and active patriot. In 1775 the first canto of his famous poem, McFingal, was published in Philadelphia. The whole work, in four cantos, was published in Hartford in 1782. It is a burlesque epic, in the style of Hudibras, directed against the Tories and other enemies of liberty in America. This famous poem has passed through many editions. After the war, Trumbull, with Humphreys, Barlow, and Lemuel Hopkins, wrote a series of poetic essays entitled American antiquities, pretended extracts from a poem which they styled The Anarchiad. It was designed to check the spirit of anarchy then prevailing in the feeble Union. From 1789 to 1795 Mr. Trumbull was State attorney for Hartford; and in 1792 and 1800 he was a member of the legislature. He was a judge of the Supreme Court for eighteen years (1801-19), and judge of the court of errors in 1808. In 1825 he removed to Detroit, Mich., where he died, May 10, 1831.

Artist; born in Lebanon, Conn., June 6, 1756; son of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull; graduated at Harvard College in 1773. Having made an accurate sketch of the works around Boston in 1775, he attracted the attention of Washington, who, in August of that year, made him one of his aides-de-camp. He became a major of brigade, and in 1776 deputy adjutant-general of the Northern Department, with the rank of colonel. In February, 1777, he retired from the army, and went to London to study painting under West. On the execution of Major Andre (October, 1780), he was seized and cast into prison, where he remained eight months. In 1786 he painted his Battle of Bunker Hill. From 1789 to 1793 he was in the United States, painting portraits for his historical pictures (now in the rotunda of the national Capitol)—The Declaration of Independence; The surrender of Burgoyne; The surrender of Cornwallis; and the Resignation of Washington at Annapolis. In 1794 Trumbull was secretary to Jay's mission to London, and was appointed a commissioner

John Trumbull.

(1796) to carry the treaty into execution. He returned to the United States in 1804, and went back to England in 1808, when everything American was so unpopular that he found little employment. He came back, settled in New York, and assisted in founding the Academy of Fine Arts there, of which he was president in 1816– [128] 25. Mr. Trumbull painted a large number of pictures of events in American history. In consideration of receiving from Yale College $1,000 a year during his life, Colonel Trumbull presented to that institution fifty-seven of his pictures, which form the “Trumbull Gallery” there. The profits of the exhibition, after his death, were to be applied towards the education of needy students. He died in New York City, Nov. 10, 1843.

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