David Humphreys, an American poet, born in Derby, Conn., in July, 1752, died in New Haven, Feb. 21, 1818. He was educated at Yale college, entered the army at the beginning of the revolutionary war, and in 1780 became a colonel and aide-de-camp to Washington. He resided more than a year with Washington after his retirement to Virginia, and again in 1788. He accompanied Jefferson to Europe as secretary of legation in 1784, was elected to the legislature of Connecticut in 1786, and was soon associated with Lemuel Hopkins, John Trumbull, and Joel Barlow in the composition of the "Anarchiad," a series of poems which appeared in the "New Haven Gazette " and the " Connecticut Magazine." These poems were satirized as being the production of "four bards with Scripture names." An edition of them, purporting to be "the first published in book form, edited, with notes and appendices, by Luther G. Riggs," was published at New Haven in 1861. Humphreys was minister to Lisbon from 1791 to 1797, and afterward minister to Spain till 1802, and on his return imported from Spain 100 merino sheep, and engaged in the manufacture of woollens. He held command of two Connecticut regiments in the war of 1812, after which he lived in retirement.
His principal poems are: an "Address to the Armies of the United States" (1782); a "Poem on the Happiness of America;" a tragedy, entitled "The Widow of Malabar," translated from the French of Le Mierre; and a " Poem on Agriculture." His "Miscellaneous Works" (New York, 1790 and 1804) contain besides his poems a biography of Gen. Putnam and several orations and other prose compositions.