His second novel, The Haunted Merchant, was projected as one of ten stories to be told by bankrupt merchants. Working a Passage , tells of a wealthy youth sent abroad by his parents to avoid the cholera epidemic in New York.
In Briggs composed an autobiographical contribution to The Missionary Memorial, a fund-raising venture in which other literary figures also participated. When a very small boy, I used to climb to the top of high hills for the pleasure of reveling in the fresh breeze as it flew by; and my first dream of freedom was the open sea, where there was nothing between me and the winds. There is even a recollection of family involvement in the China trade in this carefully composed recollection.
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A relative brought me from Canton, a few years since, a cage full of Java sparrows. There were a dozen of the beautiful creatures; and he had been at infinite pains to preserve them during a long voyage, sharing his water with them when he was on short allowance. I appreciated his kindness, but I could have killed him for his cruelty. Poor little prisoners! I looked at them with tears in my eyes, and as soon as I got the cage in my possession, I took them upon the housetop and opening the door of their bamboo prison, let them go where they pleased.
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Lowell thought the antislavery satire in the eighteen Pinto letters —47 too good to be lost, but they were never published as an independent volume. His fourth and final novel, The Trippings of Tom Pepper —50 , is the story of an innocent Cape Cod orphan in search of his lost father. It follows Tom Pepper into a series of misadventures motivated by the admonition of his benefactor to tell the truth always, no matter how inconvenient.
Thinking of himself as a Swiftian satirist, he did not confine his creative work to the novel but developed vernacular forms like the fictional newspaper letter for artistic purposes. This aspect of his literary production makes him a forerunner of the humorists Artemis Ward, Josh Billings, Petroleum Nasby, and Mark Twain, just as his novelistic material prepared the way for that other lover of Nantucket, Herman Melville. In the twenty-seven years left to him after he published Tom Pepper, Briggs continued to perform prodigious literary service to the emerging national culture of the United States.
He assisted Henry J. In his last years, he returned to creative work as a valued writer for The Independent, which had a circulation of more than , in Undoubtedly, Briggs kept his eye on the illustrious antislavery orator who began his career at an antislavery convention in Nantucket in Briggs died of a heart attack, having put in a full day at his writing desk. In , at the zenith of his literary career and influence, Briggs provided three poems he had written earlier to an anthology entitled Seaweeds from the Shores of Nantucket. With contributors identified only by initials, three of the poems are by C.
Briggs remembers shearing and the folk associated with it on his native island:.
Soon as the Harper old appeared, A ring was formed, a space was cleared; Three ladies, clad in spotless white, Three gentlemen, all dandies quite, Impatient for the dance, are seen On the brown-sward, some call it green. His brief term in New Guinea resulted in the powerful, concentrated emotionalism of The Death of the Hare ; its title was derived from Yeats. Briggs reverted to his childhood experiences when writing the meditative lyrics in The Secret Listener and published a third volume of poetry, The Timeless Flowers , in In and again in he was awarded the literature diploma of the Leonardo da Vinci Academy, Rome, for his contributions to international culture and understanding.
He made a notable collection of historical recordings, specializing in vocal art and poetry. Towards the end of his life, in his anxiety for recognition, he experimented unsuccessfully with writing novels and plays, and undertook editing, biography and autobiography. His corpus extends to over forty works in manuscript or limited private editions, some of which have been set to music.
Represented in several anthologies, he also contributed to the literary journals, Meanjin and Aspect.
Manual Death of a Cure (A Thomas Briggs Novel)
Of medium build, with small hands, a high forehead and frizzy, ginger hair, Briggs had a light baritone voice. Despite a shy, other-worldly outlook, he impressed many people and was known for his spontaneous generosity. Institutional Login. Log in to Wiley Online Library.
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