Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Cornelius Mathews


Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck, The Cyclopedia of American Literature 591
(Philadelphia: William Rutter & Co., 1880)(Vol. 2)

Cornelius Mathews was born in New York in 1817, attended Columbia College and was admitted to practice law in 1837. He seems to have devoted less attention to law than to literature.

[Source: Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Poets and Poetry of American 513 (New York: James Miller, Publisher, 1872)(Griswold places Mathews birth as 1815 but most sources suggest he was born in 1817)] [Rufus Wilmot Griswold]

Edgar Allen Poe said of Mathews: "Mr. CORNELIUS MATHEWS is one of the editors of 'Arcturus,' a monthly journal which has attained much reputation during the brief period of its existence He is the author of 'Puffer Hopkins,' a clever satirical tale somewhat given to excess in caricature, and also of the well-written retrospective criticisms which appear in his Magazine. He is better known, however, by 'The Motley Book,' published some years ago—a work which we had no opportunity of reading. He is a gentleman of taste and judgment, unquestionably." [Source: An Appendix of Autographs, from Edgar Allan Poe, "A Chapter on Autography (Part III)," Graham's Magazine, January 1842, pp. 44-49]

In a later appraisal of a Mathews work, Poe noted: "A NEW WORK, BY CORNELIUS MATHEWS. — We learn that, some time in April next, Mr. Mathews will publish a new work of fiction with the title, "Big Abel and the Little Manhattan." It is not improbable that the finely humorous and fanciful paper, entitled "The Ghost of New York," which appeared in the Democratic Review for January, with Mr. Mathew's name prefixed, is a foretaste of the intended volume or volumes. Some of the very best things in our literature have been done by the author of "The Mound-Builders;" and we regret, for our own sakes, that the opinion we here express is more general in England than in America. Among the really illustrious Londoners who have done justice to Mr. M., we may mention Elizabeth Barrett and Douglas Jerrold." [Source: Edgar Allan Poe (?), Notice of "A New Work by Cornelius Mathews," Evening Mirror (New York), January 23, 1845, p. 2, col. 3]

Cornelius Mathews
Early American Fiction
University of Virginia

Cornelius Mathews

[Review of his Poetry] [Social Satire]


The Poet


Cornelius Mathews, Wakondah the Master of Life: A Poem (New York: G.L. Curry & Co., 1841) [online text]

_______________, Poems on Man, in His Various Aspects Under the American Republic (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1843) [online text]

_______________, Man in the Republic, a Series of Poems (New York: Paine & Burgess, new ed., 1846)


Cornelius Mathews, Behemoth: A Legend of the Mound-Builders (New York: J. & H. G. Langley; Boston: Weeks, Jordan & Co., 1839)(New York: Garrett Press, 1970)

_______________, The Politicians a Comedy in Five Acts (New York: B.C. Trevett, 1840)

_______________, The Career of Puffer Hopkins (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1842)(New York: Wilson, 1842)

_______________, The Better Interests of the Country, in Connexion with International Copy-right (New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1843)

_______________, The Opal (New York: John C. Riker, 1844)

_______________, Big Abel and the Little Manhattan (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845)(New York: Garrett Press, 1970)

_______________, Moneypenny, or, The Heart of the World a Romance of the Present Day (New York: Dewitt & Davenport, 1849)

_______________, Chanticleer: A Thanksgiving Story of the Peabody Family (New York: American News Company, 1868)(Boston: B.B. Mussey & Co.; New York: J.S. Redfield, 1850)

_______________, Witchcraft, a Tragedy, in Five Acts (New York: S. French, 1852)

_______________, Calmstorm, the Reformer (New York: W. H. Tinson, 1853)

_______________, A Pen-and-Ink Panorama of New-York City (New York: J.S. Taylor, 1853)

_______________, The Various Writings of Cornelius Mathews (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1863) [online text]

_______________, The Indian Fairy Book (New York: Allen Brothers, 1869) [online text]

_______________, The Enchanted Moccasins, and Other Legends of the Americans Indians (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1877)(New York: AMS Press, 1971)