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[151] on new life. It first found voice in New England, the section which was eventually to shudder at the tide of boisterous, outlandish mirth that set in from the new South and the newer West, along and beyond that ‘highway of humour,’ the Mississippi.

First in point of time among the new humorists came Seba Smith (1792-1868), whose Letters of Major Jack Downing appeared in 1830. Almost immediately after his graduation from Bowdoin College in 1818, Smith began to contribute a series of political articles in the New England dialect to the papers of Portland, Maine. These illustrated fairly well the peculiarities of New England speech and manners, and doubtless had a great influence in encouraging similar sketches in other parts of the country. Smith was in several ways a pioneer. He led the way for The Biglow papers and all those writings which have exploited back—country New England speech and character. He anticipated, in the person of Jack Downing, confidant of Jackson, David Ross Locke's Petroleum V. Nasby, confidant of Andrew Johnson. He was the first in America, as Finley Peter Dunne, with his Mr. Dooley, is the latest, to create a homely character and through him to make shrewd comments on politics and life. Charles Augustus Davis (1795-1867) of New York created a pseudo Jack Downing (often confused with Smith's) who was intimate with Van Buren and the National Bank in the thirties and with Lincoln in the sixties. In 1835, only two years after Smith's first collected volume appeared, Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton, a prolific Nova Scotian, began the series of short sketches from which emerged one of the most famous of the early Yankee characters, Sam Slick the Clockmaker.

It must suffice barely to mention a number of the earlier volumes of American humour which attained popularity but which today are known only to the student. David Crockett's Autobiography (1834) may not belong here, though it is certainly one of the raciest of all the books in its kind.

Crayon sketches (1833), by William Cox (d. 1851), an English journalist working in New York, consists of a series of amusing essays contributed to The New York Mirror, satirizing the literary infirmities of the times and hitting off well-known actors. Especially popular were the sketches of

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