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Smith, Seba.

Smith, Seba (b. Sept. 14, 1792, Buckfield, Maine, U.S.--d. July 28, 1868, Patchogue, N.Y.)

American editor and humorist, creator of the fictional Major Jack Downing.

Smith founded (1829) the Portland Courier, in which the major's fictional letters first appeared in January 1830, continuing later in the National Intelligencer until July 1853. Major Jack was a common man magnified as oracle, a Yankee full of horse sense and wise saws, and a threadbare office seeker exposing follies in a "mobocracy." Shameless pirating of Smith's invention led to the author's collection of the letters in book form, the last volume being published in 1859 under the title My Thirty Years Out of the Senate. He further portrays New England character in Way Down East (1854).

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Article Type:Brief biography
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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