Samuel Kettell, ed. Specimens of American Poetry. 1829.
Critical and Biographical Notice
John Adams (17051740)
OF the Rev. Mr Adamss life very little is known. All that we have been able to collect of his history, is embraced in the concise summary of his birth in 1705; his graduation from Harvard College in 1721; his settlement in the ministry at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1728, his dismissal from his church in 1730; and his death at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1740. The confident predictions of his immortality,1 recorded in the preface to a little collection of his poems published after Mr Adamss death, serve only to excite a desire of knowing something of a character so lauded as his, but we are furnished with nothing that can gratify our curiosity. The productions in this volume have an internal evidence of the authors fervent piety, but we search in vain for those flights of the imagination and characteristics of sublimity spoken of in the introductory remarks of a too partial friend. These poems, however, give as good evidence of a cultivated mind, as any other written at that period.
Note 1. His own works, says his eulogist, are the best encomium that can be given him, and as long as learning and politeness shall prevail, his Sermons will be his Monument, and his Poetry his Epitaph. The former, alas, are forgotten, and the labors of a second Old Mortality would hardly revive the latter. [back]