Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

John Trumbull


Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck, The Cyclopedia of American Literature 324
(Philadelphia: William Rutter & Co., 1880)(Vol. 1)

John Trumbull was born in 1750 in Watertown, Connecticut and was a poet and lawyer. He learned classical languages at an early age and qualified for entrance to Yale at an age when children are today in early elementary school. While waiting to enter Yale he wrote poetry and studied the classics, entering Yale at age thirteen. After graduation from Yale in 1767, he remained as a fellow and tutor, continuing his writing. His first major literary work was a satirical poem, The Progress of Dullness which was published in 1772 and 1773. Trumbull took his bar examination in 1773 and took up the practice of law with John Adams in Boston. When Adams departed Boston, Trumbull returned to New Haven to practice law. His best known work, M'Fingal, a long poem, appeared in installments beginning in 1776, with additional cantos appearing some five years later. He was associated with a group of fellow Connecticut poets called the "Hartford wits" (or "Connecticut wits")(Timothy Dwight, David Humphreys, Lemuel Hopkins, Richard Alsop, Theodore Dwight, and Joel Barlow). Joel Barlow, one of Trumbull's fellow "wits" was also a lawyer/poet.

Most of Trumbull's significant poetry was written before his mid-thirties, after which time he devoted his life to law and politics. H was elected states' attorney general in 1789 and served in the state legislature from 1792 to 1800. He was a judge on various Connecticut courts.

The first collection of his poetry, The Poetical Works of John Trumbull was published in 1820. Trumbull died at age eight-one in Detroit, Michigan.

John Trumbull
George & Evert Duyckinck, Cyclopedia of American Literature

John Trumbull
National Cyclopaedia of American Biography 351
(New York: James T. White & Co., 1897)(vol. 7)

John Trumbull
Samuel Kettell, Specimens of Ameircan Poetry with Critical and
Biographical Notices
175-198 (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1829)(vol. 1)

Colonial Literature
Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed., 2001)

John Trumbull: The Beginnings of Verse, 1610-1808
Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Connecticut Wits
Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed., 2001)

John Trumbull
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
(New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889)(James Grant Wilson & John Fiske eds.)(6 vols.)

John Trumbull

John Trumbull: Whig Satirist

John Trumbull

John Trumbull

Engraved Image

Library of Congress


The Country Clown

Anarchiad: A New England Poem
(1861)( co-authored with
David Humphreys, Joel Barlow, and Lemuel Hopkins)

Character of M'Fingal

Beneath A Mountain's Brow

The Country Clown

The Owl and the Sparrow

To a Young Lady

To Ladies of a Certain Age

Beneath a Mountain's Brow


John Trumbull, M'Fingal: An Epic Poem (1782)(New York: American Book Exchange, 1881) [online text]

___________, The Poetical Works of John Trumbull, LL. D. Containing M'Fingal, a modern epic poem, revised and corrected, with copious explanatory notes; The progress of dulness; and a collection of poems on various subjects (Hartford: Printed for Samuel G. Goodrich, by Lincoln & Stone, 1820) [online text]

___________, Satiric Poems: The Progress of Dulness and M'Fingal
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962)

Poetry: Legal Periodicals

John Trumbull, The American Tories, 5 Green Bag 85 (1912)


John Trumbull Page

Connecticut Wits: Bibliography

Victor E. Gimmestad, John Trumbull (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1974)

Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull: Connecticut Wit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1936)

Leon Howard, The Connecticut Wits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943)

Bibliography: Articles

Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull as Revolutionist, 3 (3) American Literature 287-295 (1931)

Bibliography: Books

John Ferguson Weir, John Trumbull: A Brief Sketch of His Life, to which is added a catalogue of his works, prepared for the Committee on the bi-centennial celebration of the founding of Yale college (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1901) [online text]