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 was born in what is now Watertown, Connecticut, in 1750, and graduated from Yale in 1767 in the same class with Timothy Dwight. In 1772 he published his Progress of Dullness, a satire in Hudibrastic verse on the current educational system and the ignorance of the clergy which is still interesting. After studying law in the office of John Adams in Boston, he returned to New Haven to practise, and in 1776 published the first two cantos of McFingal.1 In 1781 he published the third and fourth cantos, and in the same year removed to Hartford, where he became associated with the Hartford Wits and joined in writing The Anarchiad. After serving as State's attorney, he became a judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut, and finally judge of the Supreme Court of Errors, a position which he held until 1819. For some years he was the treasurer of Yale, from which he received the degree of Ll.D. in 1818. He removed to Detroit in 1825, and died there in 1831. McFingal, Trumbull's chief work, is a political satire in favour of the whigs. As much the guide as the child of public sentiment, the piece had thirty editions. It is a burlesque epic in 3800 lines of Hudibrastic verse in four cantos, which parodies epic speeches in council, heroic encounters, and prophecy. At a town meeting held in a New England village to discuss the question of rebellion against the mother country, the whigs, led by the impassioned Honorius, and the tories, headed by Squire McFingal, an officeholder under the Crown, engage in furious argument. The whigs are finally victorious in speech and also in the battle which terminates the discussion. Under threats, McFingal's tory constable recants, but the obdurate Squire is tarred and feathered and glued to the liberty pole, where he is left to meditate his misdeeds. Escaping in the night, he convenes a meeting of fellow tories in the cellar, and relates to them the vision which he hag gained through his gift of second sight, and which prophesies final victory for the whigs. The meeting breaks up at the approach of the whigs and McFingal deserts his followers and escapes to the British. The verse runs swiftly, with considerable comic force, and contains epigrammatic couplets that might have come from Hudibras:
1 Published as Canto I, but since divided into two cantos.
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