NEAL, JOHN, an American author and poet, of Scottish descent, was b. at Falmouth, now Portland, Maine, Aug. 25, 1793. His parents belonged to the society of Friends, of which he was a member until disowned, at the age of 25, because be failed to live up to the rule of "living peaceably with all men." With the seamy education of a New England common school, he became a shop-boy at the age of 12; but learned and then taught penmanship and drawing. At the age of 21 he entered a haberdashery trade, first in Boston and then in New York; and a year after became a wholesale jobber in this business at Baltimore, in partnership with another American literary and pulpit celebrity, John Pierpont. They failed in 1816, and Neal turned his attention to the study of law. With the energy which acquired for him the sobriquet of "Jelin O'Catar act," affixed to his poem The Battle of _Niagara, he went through the usual seven years' law-course in one, besides studying several languages, and writing for a subsistence. In 1817 he published Keep Cool, a novel; the next year a volume of poems; in 1819 Otho, a five-act tragedy; and in 1823 four novels—Seventy-six, Logan, Randolph, and Errata. These impetuous works were each written in from 27 to 39 days. In 1824 he
came to England, where he became a contributor to B/ack,tcood's and other magazines and reviews, and enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Jeremy Bentham. 'On his return to America he settled in his native town, practiced .law, wrote, edited news papers, gave lectures, and occupied his leisure hours in teaching boxing, fencing, and gymnastics. Among his numerous works are Brother Jonathan; Rachel Dyer; Ben'tluzm's Morals and Legislation; Authorship; Down-casters, etc. After a long silence, devoted to professional business, he published, in 1854, One Word More, and in 1859, TrueWoman hood. The latter though a novel, embodies the more serious religious convictions of his later years. In 1870 appeared his Wandering Recollections of a Somewhat Busy Life. Neal's voluminous writings, with all their glaring faults of haste and inexperience, are full of genius, fire, and nationality.