Letter to Mercy Otis Warren

in about Mercy Scollay, about Warren

Date: September 27, 1774
Author: Hannah Fayerweather Winthrop
“I have lately recieved great pleasure from an ingenious satire on that Female Foible Love of dress in the Royal American Magazine. I have heard the author guessd to be Miss Mercy Scollay and the Gentleman who requested it, Dr. Warren. I am not enough acquainted with that Ladys Poetic Talents to judge whether they are equal to that elegant production. Mr. Winthrop joyns in the sincerest regards to Coll Warren & you.
I subscribe, Your Affectionate Hannah Winthrop”
Source: Warren-Adams Letters, Vol. I, p. 33, Massachusetts Historical Society. This is the last paragraph extracted from a four page letter, which appears in its entirety as a transcription here and as a document image here.
Commentary: A Daughter of Liberty guesses that the satirical poem on female love of stylish, imported clothes was penned by Miss Mercy Scollay. The subject piece had appeared in the June 1774 issue of Isaiah Thomas’ Royal American Magazine. Neither the author of this letter nor her recipient took credit, nor were they certain of the poem’s authorship.
In 1790 the poem appeared in a volume of Mercy Otis Warren’s works under a different title and different introductory description. By then both Hannah Winthrop and her husband were deceased. Thus, the poem is most likely the work of Mercy Otis Warren. It remains unclear why in 1774 Hannah Winthrop did not know her close friend had written the poem or why Mercy Otis Warren did not then acknowledge authorship.

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