Lewis Leary


Among American men of letters who have paid tribute to Florida-and perhaps, with the exception of William Bartram, the earliest of them-we may now number Philip Freneau, the “Poet of the American Revolution”. Unlike many others, Freneau apparently never saw Florida, though for a period of years between 1785 and 1790 he was master of a coastal vessel which occasionally called as far south as Savannah. His poem on Florida was written when he was an old man, almost seventy. Living in retirement on his farm in New Jersey, he nevertheless still watched with interest the development and expansion of the new country for which he had fought with sword and pen as a younger man. On September 28, 1821, the Trenton True American announced the “Surrender of Florida” with this dispatch.