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JAMES KIRKE PAULDING (1778-186o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 958 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAMES KIRKE PAULDING (1778-186o), American writer and politician, was born in Dutchess county, New York, on the 22nd of August 1778. After a brief course at a village school, he removed in 1800 to New York City, where in connexion with his brother-in-law, William Irving, and Washington Irving, he began in January 1807 a series of short lightly humorous articles, under the title of The Salmagundi Papers. In 1814 he published a political pamphlet, "The United States and England," which attracted the notice of President Madison, who in 1815 appointed him secretary to the board of navy commissioners, which position he held until November 1823, Subsequently Paulding was navy agent in New York City from 1825 to 1837, and from 1837 to 1841 was secretary of the navy in the cabinet of President Van Buren. From 1841 until his death on the 6th of April 1860 he lived near Hyde Park, in Dutchess county, New York. Although much of his literary work consisted of political journalism, he yet found time to write a large number of essays, poems and tales. From his father, an active revolutionary patriot, Paulding inherited strong anti-British sentiments. He was among the first distinctively American writers, and protested vigorously against intellectual thraldom to the mother-country. As a prose writer he is chaste and elegant, generally just, and realistically descriptive. As a poet he is gracefully commonplace, and the only lines by Paulding which survive in popular memory are the familiar " Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers: Where is the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked ?" which may be found in Koningsmarke. The following is a partial list of his writings: The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan (1812); The Lay of the Scottish Fiddle (1813), a good-natured parody on The Lay of the Last Minstrel ; Letters from the South (1817); The Backwoodsman: a Poem (1818) ; Salmagundi (2nd series, 1819–182o) ; A Sketch of Old England, by a New England Man (1822); Koningsmarke, the Long Finne (1823), a quiz on the romantic school of Walter Scott; John Bull in America; or the New Munchausen (1824), a broad caricature of the early type of British traveller in America; The Merry Tales of the Three Wise Men of Gotham (1826) ; Chronicles of the City of Gotham, from the Papers of a Retired Common Councilman (183o); The Dutchman's Fireside (1831); Westward Hol (1832); A Life of Washington (1835), ably and gracefully written; Slavery in the United States (1836), in which he defends slavery as an institution; The Book of Saint Nicholas (1837), a series of stories of the old Dutch settlers; American Comedies (1847), the joint production of himself and his son William J. Paulding; and The Puritan and his Daughter (1849). The same son also published an edition of Paulding's Select Works (4 vols., 1867-1868), and a biography called Literary Life of James K. Paulding (New York, 1867).
End of Article: JAMES KIRKE PAULDING (1778-186o)
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