by George J. Dance

Richard Bingham Davis (August 31, 1771 - 1799) was an American poet.


Davis was born in New York City. He entered Columbia College at 14, but left 3 years later to follow his father's trade of woodcarving.[1]

In 1796, he became the editor of The Diary, a daily New York gazette, and wrote for that paper for a year. In 1797 he entered the mercantile business, writing writing his poetry and verse on the side.[2] Poet

Davis was described as awkward in manner and speech.[2] In a 1792 article, "Drone - No. VIII," he offered a self-description and critique, under the guise of a critique of a fictional "Mr. Martlett":

After introducing the “timid” Martlet, Davis mocks his shortcomings: “[Mr. Martlet] has found himself circumvented in business by the illiterate, eclipsed in company by the buffoon, and frustrated in his hopes of female favour by the more brilliant qualifications of the coxcomb.” Presumably a lazy entrepreneur and an ineffectual bachelor, Martlet is an easy target.... Davis attempted to redeem himself and the “old bachelor” by illustrating the “good qualities of his heart.” In the company of his closest friends, Davis observed, “[Martlet] is entertaining, communicative, and desirous to please.” Mr. Martlet’s love of fellowship and lack of “self-interest” reflected an inner-appreciation for his place within the “little society.” Eclipsing the other desirable qualities, Martlet’s candor most inspired Davis, alleviating “the somber cloud of his external manner.”[3]

He died of yellow fever,[1] in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1799, aged 28.[2]


His poems reflect personal sentiment and melancholy.[2]


Davis was a member of the Calliopean Society of New York City, which contributed his work to be published by Thomas and James Swords in 1807.[2]


  • Poems. New York: T.& J. Swords, 1807.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Richard Bingham Davis (1771-1799), English Poetry 1579-1830, Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. Web, June 1, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Biographical Note, Guide to the Book of Verse of Richard Bingham Davis, Jersey History. Web, Apr. 21, 2018.
  3. Andrew L. Hargroder, "'The Muse’s Favorite Son:' Richard Davis, Candor, and the Democratic Clubs of the 1790s", Gotham Center for New York City History, March 15, 2016. Web, June 2, 2016.
  4. Search results = au:Richard Bingham Davis, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, June 1, 2016.

External linksEdit

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