Barlow, Joel

Barlow, Joel an American preacher, diplomatist, and poet, was born at Reading, Conn., in 1755, and was first sent to Dartmouth College, but returned to New Haven, where he graduated in 1778. Shortly after this he was licensed a Congregational preacher, and joined the American army as a chaplain. At the close of the war, he resumed the study of law, in which he had previously been engaged, and settled in Hartford, where he established a weekly newspaper. While here, he adapted Watts's version of the Psalms to the use of the General Association of Connecticut, adding to it several original hymns. In 1788 he went to England as agent for the Scioto Company, but, finding himself associated with a party of swindlers, he resigned his office and went to Paris, where he became a zealous adherent of the Girondists. In 1795, while yet in Paris, he was appointed by president Washington consul to Algiers. He returned to Paris and resumed some commercial speculations in which he had formerly been engaged and through which he realized a fortune. In 1805 he returned to the United States and established himself in Washington. In 1806 he instituted a scheme for a national academy under the patronage of the government, but it failed. In 1811 president Madison appointed him minister to France. Napoleon, desiring his advice in diplomatic affairs, in the autumn of 1812, while on his Russian campaign, invited him to a conference at Wilna, Poland. Being attacked with inflammation of the lungs while on the journey, he died at Zarnowitch, a small village near Cracow, Dec. 22, 1812. His first poem was written in 1778. In 1791, on receiving his master's degree, he recited a poem called The Prospect of Peace, which was subsequently merged in The Columbiad. The germ of his great epic was The Vision of Columbus (1787), and attained greater popularity on both sides of the Atlantic than was the fate of the more pretentious work. His most popular poem, entitled Hasty Pudding, was written while at Chambery, in Savoy. See Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.;

Encyclop. Brit. (9th ed.), s.v.; Appletons' American Cyclop. s.v.; Duyckinck, Cyclop. of Amer. Lit. i, 408.

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