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Sketch of Joel Barlow

Joel Barlow (March 24, 1754 – December 26, 1812) was an American poet and politician



Barlow was born in Redding, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He briefly attended Dartmouth College before graduating from Yale University in 1778, where he was also a post-graduate student for two years. In 1778, he published an anti-slavery poem entitled "The Prospect of Peace." From September 1780 until the close of the revolutionary war was chaplain in a Massachusetts brigade. He then, in 1783, moved to Hartford, Connecticut, established there in July 1784 a weekly paper, the American Mercury, with which he was connected for a year, and in 1786 was admitted to the bar.

At Hartford he was a member of a group of young writers including Lemuel Hopkins, David Humphreys, and John Trumbull, known in American literary history as the "Hartford Wits". He contributed to the Anarchiad, a series of satirico-political papers, and in 1787 published a long and ambitious poem, The Vision of Columbus, which gave him a considerable literary reputation and was once much read.


In 1807 he had published in a sumptuous volume the Columbiad, an enlarged edition of his Vision of Columbus, more pompous even than the original; but, though it added to his reputation in some quarters, on the whole it was not well received, and it has subsequently been much ridiculed. The poem for which he is now best known is his mock heroic Hasty Pudding (1793). Besides the writings mentioned above, he published Conspiracy of Kings, a Poem addressed to the Inhabitants of Europe from another Quarter of the Globe (1792); View of the Public Debt, Receipts and Expenditure of the United States (1800); and the Political Writings of Joel Barlow (2nd ed., 1796).


In 1788 he went to France as the agent of the Scioto Land Company, his object being to sell lands and enlist immigrants. He seems to have been ignorant of the fraudulent character of the company, which failed disastrously in 1790. He had previously, however, induced the company of Frenchmen, who ultimately founded Gallipolis, Ohio, to emigrate to America. In Paris he became a liberal in religion and an advanced republican in politics. He helped Thomas Paine publish the first part of "The Age of Reason" while Paine was imprisoned during The Reign of Terror. He remained abroad for several years, spending much of his time in London; was a member of the "London Society for Constitutional Information"; published various radical essays, including a volume entitled Advice to the Privileged Orders (1792), which was proscribed by the British government; and was made a citizen of France in 1792.

He was American consul at Algiers in 1795-1797, securing the release of American prisoners held for ransom, and negotiating a treaty with Tripoli (1796). He returned to America in 1805, and lived at his home, Kalorama in what is now the city of Washington, D.C., until 1811, when he became American plenipotentiary to France, charged with negotiating a commercial treaty with Napoleon, and with securing the restitution of confiscated American property or indemnity therefor. He was summoned for an interview with Napoleon at Wilna, but failed to see the emperor there; became involved in the retreat of the French army; and, overcome by exposure, died at the Polish village of Żarnowiec.

The record in the archives of the church in Żarnowiec reads

Anno 1812, Decembris 26 at 1 o'clock P.M. before us the rector of the Zarnowiec parish and civil recorder of the village of Zarnowiec, Pilica County, Department of Cracow, there came Hon. John Blaski, postmaster and Mayor of the village Zarnowiec, residing here and thirty-six years old, and Idzi Baiorkiewicz, residing at his farm of two quarts at Zarnowiec and thirty-three years old, and declared that his Excellency, Joel Barlow, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Emperor of the French and King of Italy, died on the above day at 12 o'clock at noon in the house No. 1 while journeying from Warsaw to Paris, at the age of fifty-six, son of unknown parents, and husband of her Excellency Mrs. Margaret nee Baldwin, residing in the American city of Ridgefield. After reading this to the present we undersigned it with the witnesses, Rev. Stanislaus Bajorski, civil recorder; John Blaski, witness; Idzi Baiorkiewicz, witness.

Joel Barlow was painted by Robert Fulton.


  • Barlow, Ohio is named in his honor.
  • He was one of the contributing editors of the first agricultural magazine in America, the Agricultural Museum.
  • Joel Barlow High School in Redding, CT


  • Haiman, Miecislaus. Jonas Barlow's Grave Found: The Neglected Burial Place of a Noted American Is Discovered in Poland. New York Times. Nov. 10, 1929.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg "Barlow, Joel". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Armstrong, Jr.
U.S. Minister to France
Succeeded by
William H. Crawford


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal,
The sweets of Hasty-Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.

Joel Barlow (March 24, 1754December 26, 1812) was an American poet and diplomat.



  • As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [...] it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The Hasty-Pudding (1793)

  •    Despise it not, ye Bards to terror steel'd,
    Who hurl'd your thunders round the epic field;
    Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing
    Joys that the vineyard and the still-house bring;
    Or on some distant fair your notes employ,
    And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy.
    I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
    My morning incense, and my evening meal,
    The sweets of Hasty-Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
    Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.
    • Canto 1: st. 1, lines 1–10
  •    But here tho' distant from our native shore,
    With mutual glee we meet and laugh once more,
    The same! I know thee by that yellow face,
    That strong complexion of true Indian race,
    Which time can never change, nor soil impair,
    Nor Alpine snows, nor Turkey's morbid air;
    For endless years, thro' every mild domain,
    Where grows the maize, there thou art sure to reign.
       But man, more fickle, the bold license claims,
    In different realms to give thee different names.
    Thee soft nations round the warm Levant
    Palanta call, the French of course Polante;
    E'en in thy native regions, how I blush
    To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee Mush!
    On Hudson's banks, while men of Belgic spawn
    Insult and eat thee by the name suppawn.
    All spurious appellations, void of truth:
    I've better known thee from my earliest youth,
    Thy name is Hasty-Pudding! thus our sires
    Were wont to greet thee fuming from the fires.
    • Canto 1: st. 8 & st. 9, lines 1–12
  •    There are those who strive to stamp with disrepute
    The luscious food, because it feeds the brute;
    In tropes of high-strain'd wit, while gaudy prigs
    Compare thy nursling man to pamper'd pigs;
    With sovereign scorn I treat the vulgar jest,
    Nor fear to share thy bounties with the beast.
    • Canto 1: st. 10, lines 1–6;

The Columbiad (1807)

Full text onlineat Project Gutenberg
  • Almighty Freedom! give my venturous song
    The force, the charm that to thy voice belong;
    Tis thine to shape my course, to light my way,
    To nerve my country with the patriot lay,
    To teach all men where all their interest lies,
    How rulers may be just and nations wise:
    Strong in thy strength I bend no suppliant knee,
    Invoke no miracle, no Muse but thee.
    • Book I
  • He open'd calm the universal cause,
    To give each realm its limit and its laws,
    Bid the last breath of tired contention cease,
    And bind all regions in the leagues of peace;
    Till one confederate, condependent sway
    Spread with the sun and bound the walks of day,
    One centred system, one all-ruling soul
    Live thro the parts and regulate the whole.
    • Book X

External links

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