1834 Letters of J. Downing to His Old Friend, Mr. Dwight - First Edition

1834 Letters of J. Downing to His Old Friend, Mr. Dwight - First Edition

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Satirist Seba Smith was the mastermind behind the character 'Jack Downing'. Downing first appeared in 1830 when Smith was editor of the Portland Courier newspaper in Portland, Maine.  As a young man, Downing (a fictitious character) ran away from his rural family farm in Maine and headed to the state capital with an idea of entering politics and making his fortune. Downing was portrayed as naive and ambitious young man who was a satirical portrait of the 1830 idea of a 'self-reliant' person. The early 1830's was the beginning of partisan politics in America and Smith' character was representative of rural America that thought the growth of nationalism and partisanship was going to ruin the country. The tenor of his satires featuring Downing was tempered by the use of poor spelling, semi-literate writings with rural metaphors used throughout his stories.
This continued until the partisanship got worse with the election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency when Jack went to Washington DC, received an officer's commission from the new President, and (without any specialist knowledge or training) sent the newly commissioned 'Major' Jack Downing to solve political disputes with South Carolina and the country of Canada. This first edition of the 1834 satire is quite amazing in its content and stories of what the author considered an ill-advised and terrible administration under Andrew Jackson.
After the 183