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Roger Wolcott


Roger Wolcott was a farmer, public office holder, lawyer, military leader, and governor of Connecticut from 1750 to 1754. His poetry collected in Poetical Meditations, Being the Improvement of Some Vacant Hours is reputed to be the first book of poetry to be published in Connecticut. [Source: "Roger Wolcott," in The Heath Anthology of American Literature; see also, Yale University Library catalog entry for Poetical Meditations][See also: Samuel Kettell, Specimens of Ameircan Poetry with Critical and Biographical Notices 19-35 (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1829)(vol. 1)][online text]

Roger Wolcott

Roger Wolcott
The Poets of Connecticut

Harper's Weekly
January 5, 1901

Roger Wolcott

FOR a second time in recent years is the commonwealth of Massachusetts
in mourning for the death of one of her younger sons. When in 1896, not long
after the Chicago convention in which his ideals of party received the rudest shock, William E. Russell died, there was not a man, woman, or child in Massachusetts who did not experience a sense of personal loss. Removed as we are from the scenes of his activities, we cannot but feel that the same sense of affliction passes over the great New England State at the untimely decease of Roger Wolcott. They have a way in Massachusetts of taking public men at their intrinsic worth, and of judging character from the real and not from the partisan stand-point. For this reason, Mr. Wolcott , a type of the truest and most accomplished American citizen, a scholar, a gentleman, and beyond all things a man, took hold particularly upon the New England imagination, and about him there deservedly grew up a tradition as of a Bayard who was sans peur et sans reproche. He seemed to represent in many ways the ideal of an American public man. In private life he was always the accomplished gentleman; tactful, courteous-all that the term implies. In public life, both as Lieutenant-Governor and later as Governor, there was no duty attached to his office to which he was unequal, and in the performance of which he failed to elicit the profound admiration and confidence of all, his political enemies-for he had no personal ones-included. It is the melancholy privilege of the Weekly to lay its tribute
of esteem upon Roger Wolcott 's bier. His death is a loss not alone to the commonwealth which honored itself in honoring him, but to the whole American nation, which can ill afford to lose such a man as he, and at a time when his service to his country was but at its beginning. The fundamentally sane, the everlastingly true, the finely courageous and self-sacrificingly independent man is needed now as never before, and in Roger Wolcott 's decease one of these has left us. Our consolation is the heritage of his example, than which there has been no loftier, no purer, no sweeter, none more inspiring in American life of recent years. We cannot forget the sense of supreme satisfaction that came over us when we heard that Mr. Wolcott had been offered the ambassadorship to Italy. It was regretted that General Draper was compelled to relinquish the post which he had adorned; it was a satisfaction to learn that the Administration had chosen to succeed him one who would sustain the tradition of American manhood already established, and who would bring to the office a ripe scholarship and a fine cultivation, which must have appealed to all that was best
in Italy, and thus increased the regard which by slow degrees the finer minds of
the nations of the Continent are beginning to feel for us.

Mr. Wolcott was born in Boston on the 13th of July, 1847. He was graduated at Harvard in 1870, and after serving several terms in the Boston Common Council and State Legislature, in 1893, with Mr. Russell as Governor, was elected Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, being re-elected a year later on the ticket with Governor Greenhalge, upon whose death he became acting Governor. In 1896, by the logic of the Massachusetts system, Mr. Wolcott was elected Governor of the commonwealth, in which office he served three terms. His record was spotless as his character, and it is to our knowledge that
in his public as well as in his private performance his State took a pride commensurate to the intrinsic quality of the man himself.


Roger Wolcott, Poetical Meditations: Being the Improvement of Some Vacant Hours (New London [Connecticut]: Printed and sold by T. Green, 1725)

[Poetical Meditations. 1898. The Poems of Roger Wolcott, Esq., 1725 (Boston: Club of Odd Volumes, 1898)(Cambridge [Massachusetts]: University Press, John Wilson & Son)(A reprint of the edition of 1725, with reproduction of the original t.p: Poetical meditations, being the improvement of some vacant hours / by Roger Wolcott, Esq.; with a preface by the Reverend Mr. Bulkley of Colchester. New London: Printed and sold by T. Green, 1725)][online text]


William Lawrence, Roger Wolcott (New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1902) [online text]