The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.
§ 9. The Satirists
Mention should also be made here of the poems of Philip Freneau and John Trumbull, although the fuller discussion of their literary significance belongs elsewhere in this work. The first of Freneau’s poems of the Revolution, On the Conqueror of America Shut up in Boston and General Gage’s Soliloquy, were published in the summer of 1775, while the siege of Boston was in progress. Trumbull, whose muse had already responded to some of the earlier incidents of the war, published the first canto of McFingal in January, 1776. Grounded, as were the writings of both of these authors, in a clear, popular understanding of the points at issue, and foreshadowing, in Freneau’s case, the ultimate attainment of independence, the satirical humour of the poems confirmed the faithful and strengthened the wavering quite as effectively as state papers or pamphlet treatises.