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[154] before the Civil War was The Flush times of Alabama and Mississippi (1853), by Joseph Glover Baldwin (1815-64), who was born in Virginia, practised law in Alabama, and spent the late years of his life in California. Like Lincoln, as a lawyer he had learned much from riding the circuit, and traced in his book the evolution of a country barrister with considerable skill and imagination. Although chiefly concerned with the Flush-time bar, Baldwin described as well most of the sharpers, boasters, liars, spread-eagle orators, the types of honesty and dishonesty, efficiency and inefficiency, in the newly rich and rapidly filling South. Unlike some of the books of his time, this one does not degenerate into mere horse-play or farce. We may still find interest in the characters of Simon Suggs, Jr., Esquire, and Ovid Bolus, the former a good trader and the mean boy of the school, the latter a great spendthrift and liar although handsome and possessed of a generous and winning manner.

In the North and West meanwhile, humorous books were growing steadily in number and importance. During the late forties Mrs. Frances Miriam Whitcher (1811-52) wrote for several journals a series of articles purporting to come from the pen of the Widow Bedott, ‘an egregiously wise and respectable and broadly humorous matron.’ Such was the demand for her writings that after her death two collections were published, The Widow Bedott papers (1855) and Widow Sprigg, Mary Elmer, and other sketches (1867). Her humour is spirited but often obvious. Frederick Swartout Cozzens (1818-69), a New York wine merchant with literature as a hobby, cultivated a pleasant vein of mild, dry humour which produced The Sparrowgrass papers (1856), describing the experiences of a New York cockney who retires to Yonkers to live. The Travels, Voyages, and Adventures of Gilbert Go-Ahead (1856), recording the deeds of a shrewd clock-selling Yankee in different parts of the world, was probably by the most prodigious literary hack of his day, Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860), ‘Peter Parley.’ A widely travelled New York naval officer, Henry Augustus Wise (1819-69), wrote several extravagant volumes of sea exploits, of which Tales for the Marines (1855) was probably best known. Thomas Bangs Thorpe (1815-78), a Massachusetts man who went as a journalist to Louisiana

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