Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HOPKINS, Lemuel, poet, born in Waterbury, Connecticut, 19 June, 1750; died in Hartford, Connecticut, 14 April, 1801. He was a farmer's son, and after obtaining a good education studied medicine at Wallingford, served for a short time as a volunteer in the Revolutionary army, and practised at Litchfield from 1776 till 1784, when he removed to Hartford. He was noted for independence of thought and various talents, and was singular in appearance and manners. His death was hastened by repeated bleedings, which he ordered for the purpose of averting an expected attack of pulmonary disease. He was one of the coterie called the Hartford wits, consisting, besides himself, of John Trumbull, David Humphreys, Richard Alsop, Joel Barlow, Theodore Dwight, and others, who were associated in the authorship of "The Anarchiad," a series of essays modelled after the English work called "The Rolliad," and having for their object the advocacy of an efficient federal constitution. Dr. Hopkins projected this work, consisting of pretended extracts from what purported to be an ancient heroic poem in English that had been discovered in the interior of the American continent. He had the largest share in writing the essays, which were mostly composed in concert. He afterward wrote parts of the series of satirical papers called "The Echo" and "The Political Greenhouse," and contributed also to "The Guillotine." For several years he wrote satirical "New Year's Verses" for a political newspaper of Hartford. In early life he was an adherent of the French infidel philosophy, but later he became a diligent student of the Bible, and employed his powers of wit and sarcasm in "The Anarchiad" and other satirical writings in defence of the Christian theology. He is said to have written for Barlow the version of the 137th psalm, beginning "Along the banks where Babel's current flows." Among the best known of his poems are "The Hypocrite's Hope" and an elegy on "The Victim of a Cancer Quack." Some of his verses appear in the collection of "American Poems" edited by Elisha Smith (Litchfield, 1793), and in Charles W. Everest's "Poets of Connecticut" (Hartford, 1843).
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