THE JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER PAGE ON QWHP
PART ONE: POETRY.
[All poetic selections from Whittier, John Greenleaf, The Complete Poetical Works of John
Greenleaf Whittier, Household Edition. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.;
Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, 1904.]
PART TWO: PROSE.
[All of this material (unless otherwise noted) is from the Amesbury Edition of the Complete
Works of John Greenleaf Whittier in Seven Volumes. Boston and New York: Houghton
and Mifflin Co.; Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1892.]
- A Letter to Friends' Review, 2nd mo., 1870. The first of several letters he wrote to this
Orthodox (tending toward "Gurneyite" publication, raising concerns about the then emerging
trend towards pastoral ministry.
- A Second Letter to Friends' Review, 3rd. mo., 1870. A summary response to the various
letters that followed, some favorable, others critical.
- A Third Letter to Friends' Review, 1st mo., 17, 1872. A letter written two years later,
expression reservations about revivalism.
- The Little Iron Soldier, or What Aminadab Ivison Dreamed About. A short tale, examining the
conflict between the peace testimony and the prospect for personal gain. As one of the
temptors says, "I think it important to maintain on all proper occasions our Gospel testimonies
agains wars and fightings; but there is such a thing as going to extremes, thou knows, and
becoming overscrupulous, as I think thou art in this case. It is said, thou knows, in
Ecclesiastes, 'Be not righteous overmuch: why shouldst thou destroy thyself?'
- The Fish I Didn't Catch. More typical of what I think most expect from Whittier: a personal
recollection of a childhood scene in New England, learning how to fish with his uncle, and a
good little moral. "How often since I have been reminded of the fish that I did not catch! When
I hear people boasting of a work as yet undone, and trying to anticipate the credit which
belongs only to actual achievement, I call to mind that s cene by the brookside, and the wise
caution of my uncle in that particular instance takes the form of a proverb universal
application: "Never brag of your fish before you catch him."
- Longfellow. Written for the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of him in Portland, Maine,
USA. Whittier was an admirer of Longfellow.
- The Black Men In the Revolution and War of 1812. A review of their contributions, apparently
written as a Fourth of July article. It should viewed as primary material by Whittier and not as
a comprehensive review of the subject.
- The Pilgrims of Plymouth. A strongly conservative and moralistic piece, which actually sounds
quite contemporary in some ways.
- The Bible and Slavery. Part of a response to a pamphlet by "Evangelicus" in defense of slavery.
"A more monstrous libel upon the Divine Author if Christianity was n oever propagated by
Paine or Voltaire, Kneeland or Owen."
- What is Slavery? Addressed to the Liberty Party Convention, 1843. "It is blasphemy lifting
brazen brow and violent hand to heaven, attempting a reversal of God's law. Man cla iming the
right to uncreate his brother; to undo that last and most glorious work, which God himself
pronounced good, amidst the rejoicing hosts of heaven!"
- Woman's Suffrage (Letter to the Newport Convention.) In which Whittier is in favor of the
right to vote, but expresses caution about the assumptions of great social change followi ng it.
- Reading for the Blind. A weaker piece, written in response to learning his poetry was being
read in braile.
- The Indian Question. It must be read in the context of its time.
- International Arbitration. (Vol. VII, p. 245.) A cautionary example of excessive optimism.
- Suffrage For Women (Read at the Woman's Convention at Washington.) Vol. VII, p. 247.)
Again endorsing the right, cautioning against unrealistic expectations and the use of means t
hat detract from the cause.
- Fanaticism. (Vol. VII, p. 391.) A review of Wieland, a novel in which an already dangerously
delusional man falls under demonic influence pretending to be the light and kil ls his family as a
- Lord Byron. A very critical review of Lord Byron and denunciation of his infidel beliefs.
"Byron was an infidel wretched infidel. The blessings of a mighty intellect the prodigal gift of
Heaven, became in his possession a burthen and a curse. He was wretched in his gloomy
unbelief; and he strove, with that selfish purpose, which the miserable and unprincipled feel, to
drag his fellow beings from their only abiding hope. Taken from Cady, E.H. and Clark, H.H.,
Whittier on Writers and Writing.