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Lawyers and Poetry

Nathaniel Hazeltine Carter

New Hampshire & New York

"Nathaniel H. Carter was born at Concord, New Hampshire, September 17, 1787. He was educated at Exeter academy and dartmouth College, and on the completion of his course became a teacher at Salisbury, New Hampshire, whence he soon after removed to take a similar charge at Portland, Maine. In 1817 he was appointed professor of languages in the University created by the state legislature at dartmount, where he remained until the institution was broken up by a decision of the Supreme Court, when he removed to New York. In 1819 he became editor of the Statesman, a newspaper of the Clintonian party. In 1824 he deliver a poem at Dartmount College before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, entitled The Pains of the Imagaintion. In the following year he visited Europe, and wrote home letters descriptive of his travels to the Statesman, which were republished in other journals throughout the country. On his return in the spring of 1827 he published these letters, revised and enlarged, in two octavo volumes . . . . In consequence of ill health he passed the following winter in Cuba, and on his return in the sprin abandoned, for the same reason, the editorial profession. In the fall of 1829 he was invited by a friend residing in Marseilles to accompany hm on a voyage to that place. While on shipboard, believig that his last hour was approaching, he wrote some lines entitled The Closing Scene, or the Burial at Sea. He survived, however, until a few days after his arrival, in December, 1829." [Evert A. Duyckinck & George L. Duyckinck (eds.), Cyclopaedia of American Literature 100 (New York Charles Scribner, 1856)][online text]

After Carter left Dartmouth College, "wearied with the discords at Dartmouth, he left that institution and visited New York city, wityh letters of introduction to Josiah Ogden Hoffman, then one of the most distinguished lawyers and legislators of the State of New York. He was invited by Mr. Hoffman to enter his office as a student at law. The invitation was accepted, and Mr. Carter reamined with his eminent friend until his admission to the bar. While a student with Mr. Hoffman, Carter distinguished himself by his various contributions to the press of the city . . . .

Soon after his admission to the bar, Carter was invited by the late Charles G. Andrews, who was then connected with the Albany Register . . . to assume the editorial control of that journal. After some hesitation, the ivitation was accepted, and the Register passed under the control of Carter." [L.B. Proctor, Lawyer and Client; or, the Trials and Triumphs of the Bar 214 (New York: S.S. Peloubet & Co., 1882)]

"Mr. Carter was a member of the New York city Bar. . . . [T]he elegant and finished productions of his pen called him away from his chosen profession to fields of literature and the great duties of a journalist. He always, however, retained great admiration for his profession. He began a work entitled 'Review of the Law of Libel and Slander,' but, his health failing, he was compelled, with great reluctance, to give up the work. His manuscrit was, however, taken by another legal writer, and made the foundation of a standard work unde rthe same title." [Id. at 217-218]


Nathaniel H. Carter, Pains of the Imagination, a poem, read before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Dartmouth College, August 19, 1824 (Boston: From the Commercial Gazette Press, 1824) [online text]


N. H. Carter, Letters from Europe, Comprising the Journal of a Tour through Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Switzerland in the years 1825, '26, and '27 (New York: G. & C. Carvill, 1827)(2 vols.) [vol.1: online text][vol. 2: online text]