Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LADD, Joseph Brown, poet, born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1764; died in Charleston, South Carolina, 2 November, 1786. His father, William, a soldier of the Revolution and member of the Rhode Island legislature, cultivated a farm at Little Compton. Joseph began to write verses at the age of ten. His father placed him in a printing-office in Newport, but took him away when he offended Dr. Samuel Hopkins by publishing a poem satirizing that divine. He wished to become a physician, and was placed with Dr. Isaac Senter, who encouraged his literary tastes, and, besides directing his medical studies, gave him instruction in the classics. His professional studies lasted four years, and during that time he composed most of his poetry. A large part of it consists of amatory verses, signed " Arouet," and addressed to "Amanda." They were intended for an orphan heiress, to whom he was devoted, and who was attached to him, though obstacles were placed in the way of their marriage by her guardians. By the advice of General Nathanael Greene, he began practice in Charleston in 1784, and met with success. In 1785 he delivered, at the request of Governor William Moultrie, an oration at the second celebration ever held of the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. He also contributed articles on literary and political subjects to the press of Charleston. Becoming involved in a newspaper controversy, he was challenged to fight a duel, and, firing his own shot in the air, received the ball of his antagonist in a vital part. He published" Poems of Arouet" (Charleston, 1786), and his poetry, with some of his prose writings, was collected into a volume, containing also a memoir of the author, by his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Haskins (New York, 1832).
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