The Black Vampyre; A Legend of St. Domingo (1819)

Summer 2019 – Just Teach One, no. 15
Text prepared by Duncan Faherty (Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center) and Ed White (Tulane University)

Text and Introduction (PDF)

The Black Vampyre


In April of 1819, a London periodical, the New Monthly Magazine, published “The Vampyre: A Tale by Lord Byron.”  There had been earlier Anglophone  accounts of vampires, often in poetry, but this tale, actually written by Byron’s erstwhile friend and physician John Polidori, was a literary sensation.  Notice of its publication quickly appeared in papers around the United States.  Typical was this short note which appeared in late April, in the Rhode-Island American:

Lord Byron has published a new prose tale, called ‘The Vampyre.’—It is said to be of the most horrifick nature.

Byron was at the time enjoying remarkable popularity in the United States, where his writings frequently appeared in local editions.[1]  A new prose tale supposedly by the famous poet garnered great attention.  Reviews positive and negative appeared by June, as did reprintings, for instance in Boston’s Atheneum (Jun 15) and Baltimore’s Robinson’s Magazine (Jun 26).  By July, Byron’s denial of authorship was being reported as well, by August Polidori’s authorship was being asserted, and a dramatic adaptation would soon appear.  The vampire concept was also beginning to appear as a metaphor for economic or emotional exploitation.  The celebrated Irish lawyer Charles Phillips, whose speeches were praised and reprinted, used the image of “the human vampyre” in a famous courtroom speech in March of 1819—shortly before Polidori’s tale appeared.  Phillips’s speech was widely circulated in US newspapers, and Philadelphia’s Franklin Gazette (June 24, 1819) prefaced this long oration with a summary highlighting the metaphor:

The penalty inflicted by the jury, though an inadequate punishment for the detestable deed, marked their execration of the avaricious and atrocious vampyre, whose abandoned conduct, spread desolation over an earthly paradise. 

In the meanwhile, an American response, The Black Vampyre, attributed to one Uriah Derick D’Arcy, appeared.[2]  Readers seem to have been entertained but also perplexed.  As one review put it, the new publication does not seem intended as a regular burlesque [of the European text], but merely to ridicule the superstition in general; and the absurdity of supposing that any sane woman could fall desperately in love with the character of a Vampyre. Some particular passages are well burlesqued. The superstition, however, does not seem to be conformed to, in every respect.[3]

We don’t know how popular the US text was—many texts at the time circulated primarily in their publication locale, though this one was advertised as far away as Charleston, SC—but it appeared in a second edition within two months.[4]   We also do not know who the author was.  An 1845 reprinting attributed the work to a Robert C. Sands, but Katie Bray convincingly suggests the author is Richard Varick Dey (1801-1837), who in the summer of 1819 would have been a recent graduate of Columbia.[5]  Whoever D’Arcy was, he was quick to use vampirism as a metaphor for a number of concerns of 1819 New York.  

Like Polidori’s story, The Black Vampire quotes under 20 lines about vampyres from Byron’s earlier “The Giaour,” a fragmentary, orientalist poem that, after its London publication, appeared in US editions in 1813 (Philadelphia and Boston) and 1816 (Philadelphia).  The poem’s narrative follows a European of uncertain origin—“giaour” is a Turkish slur for a non-Muslim—in the Ottoman Empire.  The giaour is in love with a woman in the harem of the Turkish ruler Hassan; the ruler has the woman killed in punishment.  The giaour eventually kills Hassan, and at poem’s end he recounts the events and his response in a Christian monastery. Again, the poem includes only a brief passage about vampires—lines 747-786—but the motif of the dead-as-undead appears repeatedly throughout the poem, frequently as a way of talking about geopolitical conflicts.  Most obviously, “The Giaour” takes up the cause of Greek independence: Greek-speaking peoples were subjects within the Ottoman Empire. “The Giaour” describes the Greek situation as “Greece, but living Greece no more” (line 91), as exhibiting “loveliness in death,/ That parts not quite with parting breath” (lines 94-95), as evidencing “The graves of those that cannot die!” (line 135).  What’s more, the Greek situation was explicitly presented through the metaphor of slavery: modern Greeks “Now crawl from cradle to the Grave, / Slaves—nay, the bondsmen of a Slave” (lines 150-51).

In a similar vein, D’Arcy makes slavery central to his work, most obviously by making his titular vampire black and specifically an African brought to New World enslavement.  Anti-slavery sentiment was strong and growing in New York throughout the 1810s, becoming particularly acute in the early months of 1819 as controversy spread around the granting of statehood to Missouri.  In February, Representative James Tallmadge, Jr. (Democratic-Republican, NY-4) proposed an amendment to the Missouri admission legislation banning the expansion of slavery in the state and proposing freedom for every enslaved person upon reaching the age of twenty-five.  In the congressional debates that followed, New Yorkers were prominent in denouncing the smuggling of slaves in the decade after the Constitution had prohibited further importation of enslaved people, in decrying the “three-fifths clause” and the unfair power it gave southern states, in pointing out the Constitution’s obscurities on matters of slavery, and in suggesting that violent revolution might be the necessary outcome of slavery’s continuation.[6]  

Such fears might have influenced the presentation of The Black Vampyre’s titular character as Haitian.  The Haitian Revolution, the hemisphere’s first successful colonial revolution against slavery, had, after more than a decade of violent conflict, culminated in independence in 1804.  (US newspapers continued to use the older colonial names of Saint-Domingue or St. Domingo.)  Works about Haiti and the Caribbean were extremely popular, and D’Arcy drew in particular on one by Bryan Edwards, a Jamaican plantation owner, supporter of the slave trade, and British colonial politician.  Edwards authored a popular and influential history of the British Caribbean possessions, the History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies, first published in 1793, and appearing thereafter in numerous editions and translations.  Four years later, he published An Historical Survey of the French Colony in the Island of St Domingo, an account of the unfolding, then still unresolved, Haitian Revolution.  Edwards died in 1800 (before the revolution’s end), but from 1801 on, his history of the West Indies appeared combined with his study of St. Domingo.  A five-volume edition appeared in 1819, in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh—this is the edition used by D’Arcy.[7]   Edwards was so influential in part because he popularized a branch of obeah, a group of creole religious and medical practices associated with enslaved Africans in the British Caribbean. In late 18C and early 19C texts, colonial writers used obeah (obi) as an umbrella term for a broad range of practices, in which empowered Africans negotiated with supernatural powers and made use of medicinal plants to heal or harm community members.[8] Obeah practices were said to solidify oaths among conspiring Africans, to resolve romantic disputes, to police community boundaries, and sometimes, to foment rebellion among enslaved Africans, as in the widely circulated stories about Jack Mansong, the former enslaved person whose raids on plantations terrorized Jamaican planters in the late eighteenth century.[9]

The Black Vampire draws on this obeah literature to enmesh it with vampirism, sprinkling the already well-established conventions common to representations of obeah throughout its vampire plot. Obeah fictions, for instance, recounted enslaved Africans’ abilities to imbue inert objects with animating power—as they assembled little bags or amulets that held the power to harm those who crossed their path—and their ability to transform the living into the seemingly temporarily dead by administering narcotic potions that, for a time, made the living appear dead.  The Black Vampyre takes the representation of the obeah practice of a “fetish oath” and the use of narcotic potions to make the living appear dead,[10] retooling it for the vampire plot.  In the process, The Black Vampyre drafts obeah into the “MORAL” that appears at the story’s end: that the true vampires are the shysters, the leeches, and the myriad other grifters who profit from other’s hard work and responsible behavior. The lurid grave-snatching, oath-making, and blood-stealing that dominates the plot heightens the stakes of the ending moral’s otherwise bloodless financial and property crimes, making them matters of life and death.  But if obeah and vampirism, as metaphors, are meant to reveal the truth of life in an Atlantic world driven by the profit motive, they also importantly conceal some of that truth. While initially it seems that Mr. Personne gets his just deserts for his treatment of the African boy, obeah and vampirism have only transient power in the story’s imagination. State power arrives to put down the rebellion that the African Prince plans, and Mrs. Personne’s canny apprehension that she should steal the African’s obeah preparation allow the story’s mechanisms, at the end, to put the colonial world mostly back to rights.  In the end, The Black Vampyre’s turn to obeah practices stands as an example of how early nineteenth century Atlantic cultures sought to treat superstitions, enchantments, and other forms of traffic with the supernatural. The pleasurable play with life, death, and the living dead encourages readers to see financial crimes among white people as forms of vampirism, while cautiously side-stepping the most obvious form of financial and life-predation present in the story: the enslavement of Africans. In this, the story turns to superstition not necessarily to dupe its readers, but rather to redirect their attention toward some crimes and away from others.[11]  The Black Vampyre lets its readers have just enough superstition to reveal some of the ground truths of the Atlantic world, but not so much that they might actually overturn the structures that made those enchantments necessary.

The steady references to the economy throughout the narrative were responses to what has come to be called the Panic of 1819, one of the worst recessions of nineteenth-century America.[12]   Foreign markets for US goods contracted, banks failed, mercantile firms went bankrupt, unemployment rose dramatically, wages plunged, and deflation became widespread.“collapse of foreign markets for American commodities” (Haulman 33) combined with bank and commercial failures a national contraction of financial and commercial markets resulting from capitalist speculation and “the collapse of foreign markets for American commodities.”  The Black Vampyre opens with references to a recent anonymous play, “Wall-Street” that appeared in the summer of 1819: its plot focused on characters scrambling around New York City trying to get payments and extend loans to prevent bankruptcy and ruin.  D’Arcy also references “the Auction Room,” alluding to the practice of auctioning imports, something done “to dispose of excess goods quickly,” thereby “enabl[ing] manufacturers to increase output on speculation” (Haulman 12-13).[13]  In spelling out the “MORAL” of The Black Vampyre, D’Arcy mentions the “fraudulent trafficker in stock and merchandize,” the “corrupted and senseless Clerk” at financial institutions, and “Brokers, Country Bank Directors, and their disciples”—all characterized as vampires.  And the poem in the second edition amplified, if anything, these economic references:

Lo! thro’ the bustling world of trade,
What monsters march in long parade; …
The bubble burst, and credit fled,
The money’d quack proclaims them dead;—…

The developing forms of capitalism are emphatically linked with both the vampire’s violence in sucking life from the living and the horror of dead-but-undead institutions.  And while the vampirism metaphor also extends to fashion and literature, D’Arcy arguably sees the logic of the marketplace encroaching further into art and everyday life practices.  Speculators suck the life from merchants, who suck the life from producers, just as the world of fashion must constantly move on to its next source to drain it as well.  So too with literary artists, who constantly feed off the resources around them, just as D’Arcy has fed off Byron and Polidori.

When The Black Vampyre appeared in its second edition, it added a nineteen-stanza poem, “Vampyrism,” exploring this metaphor, reflecting too on the ostensibly rational origins of the United States that have prompted a different turn to mythology and monstrosity.  The second edition also turned more directly to New York’s literary scene.  The poem has a prefatory note addressed to Solomon Lang and Launcelot Langstaff.  John “Solomon” Lang (1770-1836) was the editor of the New York Gazette, a paper dedicated primarily to shipping news for merchants.  Launcelot Langstaff was the pen-name used by James Kirke Paulding (1778-1860), a well-known and controversial figure on the literary scene, and an associate of the increasingly respected and internationally prominent author Washington Irving.  Irving, Paulding, and some others had been associated with the satirical periodical Salmagundi; or, the Whim-Whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq. and Others, which appeared irregularly from January, 1807 to January, 1808, and was revived in the fall of 1819.  It appears that Paulding had panned The Black Vampyre in Lang’s newspaper in August—this notice is reproduced at the end—so D’Arcy attacked Lang and Paulding (who used the pen-name Launcelot Langstaff).  These attacks positively referenced the well-known conservative periodical The Port Folio, while also attacking a leftist newspaper editor (Thomas Wooler) in Britain, so it possible that D’Arcy was using the second edition to emphasize an alignment with political and cultural conservatives.  (Paulding had also written anti-British commentary around the time of the War of 1812 [1812-14], and D’Arcy mocks this as false patriotism.)

The result is a complicated, highly allusive text intensely engaged with the cultural scene of the time.  In the opening pages, he not only references Polidori’s story and Byron’s poetry but he also quotes a recent London burlesque and the aforementioned “Wall-Street.”  The text references classical authors (Lucan, Virgil, Aeschylus, Homer), contemporary histories (Edwards, Raynal), theology (Tillotson, Toplady), celebrated British authors (Shakespeare, Milton, Burton, Pope, Defoe) and popular contemporary figures (Lady Morgan, Walter Scott, Thomas Moore, Thomas Campbell, and others).  He likewise alludes to contemporary newspapers and stories, NY businesses, artistic figures and booksellers, orators and magicians, and local attractions and legends.  To compound this complexity, the tone of the narrative—as the original reviewers noted—is hard to assess, at times sympathetic to the black vampire, at times dismissive, at moments serious, at others frivolous.  Two hundred years later, it serves as a record of sorts of a racially-charged moment of economic crisis, and an early attempt to play with the powerful figure of the vampire.

After 1819, the first edition of The Black Vampyre was reprinted in the January and February, 1845 issues of The Knickerbocker, where Robert C. Sands was attributed authorship, probably incorrectly.More recently, the first edition was also reproduced in The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Vampire Anthology, edited by Andrew Barger (Bottletree, 2012).  Apparently because of its scarcity, the text was not included in Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker’s American Bibliography, a Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819.  We reproduce here, we believe for the first time in two hundred years, the second edition of The Black Vampyre.  We’re grateful to the American Antiquarian Society, and particularly Caroline Stoffel, for assistance in preparing this edition.

Suggestions for further reading

To date, Katie Bray remains the only critic to engage extensively with The Black Vampyre, and she argues that the novella is both highly intertextual and difficult to classify using the traditional model of national literary development. By exploring how The Black Vampyre was originally marketed alongside volumes by Washington Irving and Lord Byron, Bray argues that the novella exemplifies “the era’s interest in different forms of the gothic” (1). Bray describes The Black Vampyre as a “hemispheric gothic” text, and concludes that it “questions not only putatively pure racial lines but also uncomplicated US national narratives as it exposes the contaminated power relations that shape family life and the intertwined histories of the United States and Haiti”; see Bray, “‘A Climate . . . More Prolific . . . in Sorcery’: The Black Vampyre and the Hemispheric Gothic,” American Literature (2015) 87.1: 1–21.

On the surface level, The Black Vampyre was a cagey attempt to capitalize on the transatlantic popularity of John Polidori’s The Vampyre, first published just a few months before D’Arcy’s text. In their introduction to their edition of The Vampyre, D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf provide an in-depth account of the creation of Polidori’s text and of its somewhat convoluted reception history; see, John William Polidori’s The Vampyre and Ernestus Berchtold, ed. Macdonald & Scherf (Broadview, 2008), 9-31. As Macdonald and Scherf detail, Polidori transforms the figure of the vampire away from its original depictions in Eastern European folktales. In these traditional folktales, vampires often resembled contemporary representations of zombies—they were typically depicted as putrefying corpses, which had been reanimated by some external force. Polidori was responsible for transforming this folk figure into the more familiar modern version of the vampire as an “articulate, aristocratic, and seductive” rogue (9), and he largely did so by constructing his vampire as a “caricature” of his former employer Lord Byron (11). Polidori’s text quickly became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, proving successful enough to go through “seven English editions in the first year” (11). In the U.S. print public sphere, the first edition of The Black Vampyre was advertised for sale alongside Byron’s The Vampyre since news of Polidori’s authorship did not reach North America until shortly before the publication of the second edition of The Black Vampyre (now sold alongsidevarious volumes of Byron’s poetry). 

Byron himself had deployed vampire-like figures in several of his poems (most notably “The Giaor”), which in part fueled the sense that he had authored Polidori’s text. Moreover, Byron’s verse played an important role in shaping the early Anglophone understanding of vampires, even as his larger-than-life persona helped popularize representations of vampires as erotic, scandalous, wandering figures. For more information about the connections between Byron and the rise of vampires in Anglo-American literary culture, we recommend (in addition to the Macdonald and Scherf introduction): Conrad Aquilina’s “The deformed transformed; or, from bloodsucker to Byronic hero – Polidori  and the literary vampire,” in Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from Enlightenment to the Present Day (Manchester Univ. Press, 2013) 24-38; Mariam Wassif’s “Polidori’s The Vampyre and Byron’s Portrait,” Wordsworth Circle (2018) 49.1, 53-61; and, Andrew McConnell Stott’s  The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monsters (Pegasus Books, 2015). 

Other scholarship of note on Polidori’s text includes J. P. Telotte’s “A Parasitic Perspective: Romantic Participation and Polidori’s The Vampyre,” in The Blood is the Life: Vampires in Literature (Bowling Green State Univ. Press, 1999) 9-19; and, Carol Senf’s “Polidori’s The Vampyre: Combining the Gothic with Realism,” North Dakota Quarterly (1988) 56.1, 197-208. For a perceptive discussion of how Polidori’s vampire represents the inherent dangers of unregulated self-interest, we recommend Lauren Bailey’s “Gothic Economies:  Capitalism and Vampirism,” in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Economics (Routledge, 2018) 89-95.  

For a cultural history of the evolution of the vampire across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, please see Nick Groom, The Vampire: A New History (Yale Univ. Press, 2018). For those interested in how figurations of vampirism circulated in trans-Atlantic nineteenth century literature, James B. Twitchell’s The Living Dead: A Study of the Vampire in Romantic Literature (Duke Univ. Press, 1981) is a useful (albeit largely canonical) resource.

As many critics have noted, the Gothic stands as one of the most important and widely circulating genres of late eighteenth and early nineteenth Anglo-American print culture, and in many ways the intertextuality of The Black Vampyre exemplifies this central motif of the genre. In his trans-Atlantic study of the evolution of gothic tropes and motifs, Fred Botting argues that at its core the “Gothic signifies a writing of excess,” noting that “gothic atmospheres – gloomy and mysterious – have repeatedly signaled the disturbing return of pasts upon presents and evoked emotions of terror and laughter”; see Botting, Gothic (Routledge, 1996), 1. In her incisive overview of the history of American gothic criticism, Siân Silyn Roberts argues that while “the Gothic is notoriously resistant to generic classification,” it has remained fundamental to studies of early American literature since it has long been privileged as the key genre for encoding “in narrative form, the ‘special guilts’ of American experience, chiefly slavery, land dispossession, and revolutionary patricide”; see Silyn Roberts, “A Transnational Perspective on American Gothic Criticism,” in Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century (Ashgate, 2013) 21 and 19.

Other useful entry points to the importance of the gothic in early American print culture include Leonard Tennenhouse’s “Is There An Early American Novel?,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 40:1-2 (2007), 5-17; Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel (Vintage, 1960); Donald A. Ringe’s American Gothic: Imagination and Reason in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Univ. of Kentucky Press,1982); Teresa A. Goddu’s Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation (Columbia Univ. Press, 1997); and Siân Silyn Roberts’s important new book Gothic Subjects: The Transformation of Individualism in American Fiction, 1790-1861 (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).

In an intriguing essay on gothic serial publications, Douglass H. Thomson and Diane Long Hoeveler argue that “shorter versions of the Gothic,” especially chapbooks and serialized magazine tales, “were far more affordable than a multi-volume Gothic novel,” and that these shorter texts were therefore intentionally aimed at “the newly literate working class” and thus often featured plots which highlight the struggles of working class individuals plagued by the machinations of wealthier protagonists; see, Thomson & Hoeveler, “To Make A Long Story Short: Varieties of Shorter Gothic Tales and Ballads,” in Romantic Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2016), 148-166. For more information on how the gothic has often been used to represent the horrors of capitalism, we recommend David McNally’s Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism (Brill, 2011).

For more information on non-Christian religious practices in the Caribbean, we recommend Toni Wall Jaudon’s “Obeah’s Sensations: Rethinking Religion at the Transnational Turn,” American Literature (2012) 84.4: 715-741; Diana Paton’s “Obeah Acts: Producing and Policing the Boundaries of Religion in the Caribbean,” small axe (2009) 13.1, 1-18;  and Elizabeth Maddock Dillon’s “Obi, Assemblage, Enchantment,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (2013) 1.1: 172-178. For a discussion of obeah and colonial forms of knowledge, we recommend Kelly Wisecup, “Knowing Obeah,” Atlantic Studies (2013) 10.3: 1-20. Finally, for an overview on recent work on the cultural importance of Obeah and especially for the ways in which it charts the ambiguous collisions “between enlightened European rationality and savage African superstition,” we recommend Tim Watson’s “Mobile obeah: a response to ‘Obeah: knowledge, power, and writing in the early Atlantic World,’” Atlantic Studies (2015) 12.2, 244-250. 

[1] Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage appeared in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Baltimore in 1812; editions of The Giaour, The Corsair, The Bride of Abydos, Lara, a Tale, Hebrew Melodies, Manfred, Beppo, and Mazeppa, not to mention some multi-volume compilations, were published through the 1810s.

[2] A notice of pending publication appeared in the June 21, 1819 New-York Daily Advertiser.  The bookseller C. Willy & Co., at No. 3 Wall-Street in New York, was advertising the book for sale by the June 23 issue of the New-York Evening Post.

[3] New York Commercial Advertiser, Jun 28, 1819, 2.

[4] The August 30 New-York Columbian declared the second edition published “this day.”  For the South Carolina ad, see the Southern Patriot for July 9, 1819.

[5] For Bray, see Further Readings, below; she discusses authorship on 19-20n4.  Uriah Derick D’Arcy is an anagram of Dey’s name (with the v reappearing as a u), and the claim of Robert Sands’s authorship maintained that the pseudonym was created as a false clue and satire of Dey.  It’s worth noting that Dey’s father Anthony was from Passaic, New Jersey, that Dey began attending the New Brunswick (NJ) Theological Seminary in 1820, and that he married Lavinia Agnes Scott, also from New Brunswick: The Black Vampyre contains several important references to New Jersey. 

[6] New York’s National Advocate for May 22, 1819 published the following notice: “The Augusta Crucible of the 10th confirms the account of the conspiracy which we published on Wednesday.  One of the ringleaders, named Coco, was an active brigand in the insurrection and massacre at St. Domingo in the year ’93. He was on the 8th inst. found guilty and ordered for execution on the 17th.”

[7] Two four-volume editions also appeared in the United States, in 1805-06 (Philadelphia) and in 1810 (Philadelphia, Charleston, and Baltimore).

[8] Obeah, as a catchall term, comes into print in the Anglophone west as a colonial construction. Legal, ethnographic, and fictional texts sought to render diverse medical and religious practices undertaken by enslaved Africans into a coherent whole named “obeah.” Yet obeah practices have their own histories beyond these texts. As Diana Paton notes, “[o]beah in the Anglophone Caribbean was produced through a process of unequal dialogue among a wide range of actors—including ritual specialists, poor and struggling people, members of many churches, colonial officials, missionaries, and members of the Caribbean resident elite—in transnational exchange with people and groups in the United States, Britain, other parts of the Caribbean, and . . . West Africa” (Paton, “Obeah Acts: Producing and Policing the Boundaries of Religion in the Caribbean,” small axe 13.1 [March 2009]: 4).

[9] See especially William Earle’s Obi; or the History of Three-Fingered Jack (1800; Broadview edition, 2005).

[10] See, for instance, Maria Edgeworth’s “The Grateful Negro” (1805), which concludes with both a band of enslaved conspirators taking a fetish oath and an obeah worker administering a narcotic potion that creates a sleep like death.

[11] For an explanation of this process, see Emily Ogden’s Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2018). As Emily Ogden puts it, “enchanted states . . . were tools to be used in secular projects, not modes of being that were excluded from a secular age” (Credulity 21). “Enchantment . . . was not a radical or fringe practice; it was a management strategy” used to guide populations toward useful or appropriate behaviors (Credulity 20).

[12] Clyde A. Haulman says that the 1819 panic and 1839-43 depression were the worst contractions of the century.  See Virginia and the Great Panic (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2008), 33. Chapter 2 provides a valuable “Overview of the Panic of 1819.”

[13] Auctions also “provided a mechanism through which false invoices could be used to circumvent tariffs,” thus artificially lowering prices (Haulman 12-13).  The newspaper editor Mordecai Noah identified a “Mr. Mead” as the author of the play in the September 29, 1819 issue of The National Advocate.