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Joel Barlow

statesman , poet

Joel Barlow, American poet, diplomat. member Constitutional Society; member United States Military Philosophical Society, American Philosophical Society.

Background

Barlow, Joel was born on March 24, 1754 in Reading, Connecticut, United States. Son of Samuel and Esther (Hull) Barlow.

Education

Graduated from Yale, 1778.

Career

After attending Dartmouth College and graduating from Yale in 1778, Barlow embarked on a highly varied career; at various times he taught school, managed a store, edited a newspaper, preached, entered the army, and became a lawyer. As one of the "Hartford Wits," he also contributed to The Anarchiad (1786, 1787).

A much more ambitious work was a revised version of the Psalms. All of this, moreover, was incidental to the composition of his "great American epic," which he first published as The Vision of Columbus (1787). After 1788 Barlow spent the next 17 years in Europe and there was closely associated with Thomas Paine, Horne Tooke, William Godwin, Joseph Priestley, and other liberals; as a result of his republican writings during these years, chief of which were The Conspiracy of Kings (1792) and Advice to the Privileged Orders (1792), he was made an honorary citizen of France. There he wrote his charming and often anthologized mock-heroic Hasty Pudding (1796). In 1795 Barlow served as the United States consul to Algiers and later acted as his country's minister to France. After his return to America in 1805, he issued The Columbiad, a revision of his earlier Vision of Columbus, but his Prospectus of a National Institution to be Established in the United States, published in the same year, probably brought him as much contemporary fame as any of his hard-wrought poetical writings. In this later period of his life he was an intimate of Jefferson and Madison and collaborated with Robert Fulton. In 1811 Barlow was appointed United States plenipotentiary to negotiate a commercial treaty with France, but although he attempted to reach Napoleon during the Russian campaign, his efforts were unsuccessful.

Works

  • Other Work

    • The Vision of Columbus (1787)

    • The Conspiracy of Kings (1792)

    • Advice to the Privileged Orders (1792)

    • Hasty Pudding (1796)

    • The Columbiad

    • Prospectus of a National Institution to be Established in the United States

Membership

Member Constitutional Society. Member United States Military Philosophical Society, American Philosophical Society.

Connections

Married Ruth Baldwin, 1781.

father:
Samuel Barlow

mother:
Esther (Hull) Barlow

spouse:
Ruth Baldwin