Barlow, Joel(bär`lō), 1754–1812, American writer and diplomat, b. Redding, Conn., grad. Yale, 1778. He was one of the Connecticut WitsConnecticut Wits
or Hartford Wits,
an informal association of Yale students and rectors formed in the late 18th cent. At first they were devoted to the modernization of the Yale curriculum and declaring the independence of American letters.
..... Click the link for more information. and a major contributor to their satirical poem The Anarchiad (1786–87). His own epic, The Vision of Columbus (1787), brought him fame in America and Europe and was revised later as The Columbiad (1807). Inspired by his friend Thomas PainePaine, Thomas,
1737–1809, Anglo-American political theorist and writer, b. Thetford, Norfolk, England. The son of a working-class Quaker, he became an excise officer and was dismissed from the service after leading (1772) agitation for higher salaries.
..... Click the link for more information. , he wrote Advice to the Privileged Orders (1792), urging that the state must represent not a class but the people and must be responsible for the welfare of the individual. His Letter to the National Convention of France on the Defects in the Constitution of 1791 won him French citizenship. His best-known lighter work is a mock eulogy, The Hasty-Pudding (1796). Appointed U.S. consul to Algiers in 1795, Barlow succeeded in releasing many American prisoners and in negotiating treaties with Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. Sent to Europe in 1811 to negotiate a commercial treaty with Napoleon I, he was caught in the disastrous retreat of the armies from Moscow and died from exposure.
See biography by R. Buel, Jr. (2011); study by A. L. Ford (1971).
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Barlow, Joel(1754–1812) poet, diplomat, writer; born in Reading, Conn. He graduated from Yale (1778), and engaged in various activities before becoming a lawyer (1786); his early writings, including his poem, The Vision of Columbus (1787; revised as The Columbiad, 1807), made him known as one of the "Hartford [or Connecticut] Wits." Going off to France in 1788 as an agent for a land speculation scheme, he spent the next 17 years there or in London—with time out to serve as U.S. consul in Algiers. He supported himself by writing, and although he had become more sympathetic to radical thinkers, by 1794 he had become rich through his investments. On returning to the U.S.A. in 1805, he settled near Washington, D.C. He was appointed ambassador to France in 1811 and he died in Poland where he had gone in hopes of negotiating a treaty with Napoleon I. Barlow is probably best known today for his mock epic poem, "Hasty Pudding" (1796).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.