Morrell, William (DNB00)

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MORRELL, WILLIAM (fl. 1625), New England poet, was an Anglican clergyman who went to Massachusetts in 1623 with the company sent out by the Plymouth council, under the command of Captain Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges [q. v.] He bore a commission from the ecclesiastical court to exercise superintendence over the churches that were, or might be, established in the colony. The attempt by this company to form a settlement at Wessagussett (now Weymouth) was unsuccessful. After Gorges's departure Morrell remained a year at Plymouth out of curiosity to learn something of the country, but made no use of his commission, nor even mentioned it till just before he sailed for England. He wrought the result of his observations into some elegant Latin hexameters, which he translated into English heroic verse, and published under the title of 'New-England, or a briefe Enarration of the Ayre, Earth, Water, Fish, and Fowles of that Country. With a Description of the. . .Habits and Religion of the Natives, in Latine and English Verse,' 4to, London, 1625. The English version, which is frequently harsh and obscure, is preceded by a poetical address to the king. A copy of this rare tract, which is dedicated to the lords, knights, and gentlemen, adventurers for New England, is in the British Museum; it was reprinted in 1792 in the 'Collections' of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1st ser. vol. i. pp. 125-39. In a postscript Morrell announced his intention of publishing another book on New England.

[Appleton's Cyclop. of Amer. Biog. s. v.]

G. G.