The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

II. The Early Drama, 1756–1860

§ 7. J. N. Barker

The next period begins naturally with the work of James N. Barker of Philadelphia and John Howard Payne of New York. Barker’s first play, Tears and Smiles, was produced in 1807. This comedy continued the representation of contemporary manners started in The Contrast and reflected also the reproduction of recent events in the reference to the Tripoli pirates. In his dramatization of historical American life in The Indian Princess (1808), probably the first dramatic version of the Pocahontas story, and Superstition (1824), whose motif was the witchcraft delusion in New England, Barker represents the American playwright working with native material. Even in Marmion (1812) he put in King James’s mouth a ringing speech which, while seeming to apply to Scottish conditions, actually reflected the feeling of America toward England in 1812. Marmion was played as late as 1848.