The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
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70 THE BOY POET AND POLITICIAN.
destruction. & quot; These hostile convictions and prejudices were
fostered by the newspapers of the day, which put no qualifica
tion or stint upon their utterances. They were so furious in
their zeal, so unrelenting in their hatred, so coarse and brutal
in their modes of speech, that young Buckminster, writing to
his father from Paris in 1806, deprecates their excessive vio
lence and bitterness as a serious damage to the reputation of
the Republic. & quot; I only wish, & quot; he said, & quot; I could let my friends
in political life in America know how painful, how mortifying,
how disgusting, how low, how infamous appear the animosi
ties and calumnies with which our American papers are filled.
I am called every day to blush for the state of society among
us, and attempt but in vain to say something in our defence.
There is nothing I have more at heart than to impress upon
the minds of my countrymen the grievous injury which we
suffer in Europe from the complexion of our newspapers and
the brutality of our party spirit the infamy of our political
disputes. & quot; *
Dr. Bryant was an earnest Federalist, and as a legislator,
who counseled with the leading men of his party at Boston,
more earnest than others less exposed to the heats of the con
clave. He not only read the journals of his party, but he
allowed his family to read them, and his sons caught the pre
vailing rage. One day having accidentally discovered in the
handwriting of Cullen, the following apostrophe to Jefferson,
the leader of the Democrats, he was naturally very much de
lighted with it, and thought it an effective political weapon, if
not very fine poetry.
& quot; And them, the scorn of every patriot name,
Thy country s ruin and thy council s shame !
Poor servile thing ! derision of the brave !
Who erst from Tarleton fled to Carter s cave ;
Thou, who, when menac d by perfidious Gaul,
Didst prostrate to her whisker d minion fall ;
* & quot; Memoirs of Rev. J. S. Buckminster, & quot; by Eliza Buckminster Lee. Boston:
Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1857.
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