1842 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Kirke Paulding

Rufus Wilmot Griswold, in Poets and Poetry of America (1842) 48.



Mr. PAULDING is known by his numerous novels and other prose writings, much better than by his poetry; yet his early contributions to our poetical literature, if they do not bear witness that he possesses, in an eminent degree, "the vision and the faculty divine," are creditable for their patriotic spirit and moral purity.

He was born in the town of Pawling, — the original mode of spelling his name, — in Duchess county, New York, on the 22d of August, 1779, and is descended from an old and honourable family, of Dutch extraction.

His earliest literary productions were the papers entitled Salmagundi, the first series of which, in two volumes, were written in conjunction with WASHINGTON IRVING, in 1807. These were succeeded, in the next thirty years, by the following works, in the order in which they are named: John Bull and Brother Jonathan, in one volume; The Lay of a Scotch Fiddle, a satirical poem, in one volume; The United States and England, in one volume; Second Series of Salmagundi, in two volumes; Letters from the South, in two volumes; The Backwoodsman, a poem, in one volume; Koningsmarke, or Old Times in the New World, a novel, in two volumes; John Bull in America, in one volume; Merry Tales of the Wise Men of Gotham, in one volume; The Traveller's Guide, or New Pilgrim's Progress, in one volume; The Dutchman's Fireside, in two volumes; Westward Ho! in two volumes; Slavery in the United States, in one volume; Life of Washington, in two volumes; The Book of St. Nicholas, in one volume; and Tales, Fables, and Allegories, originally published in various periodicals, in three volumes. Beside these, and some less pretensive works, he has written much in the gazettes on political and other questions agitated in his time.

Mr. PAULDING has held various honourable offices in his native state; and in the summer of 1838, he was appointed, by President VAN BUREN, Secretary of the Navy. He continued to be a member of the cabinet until the close of Mr. VAN BUREN'S administration, in 1841.