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He was one of four sons of Edmund March Blunt. In 1802, Edmund M. Blunt published the American Practical Navigator by Nathaniel Bowditch who became the godfather of Joseph's younger brother Nathaniel Bowditch Blunt.
Joseph Blunt first came into notice by writing on the Missouri question in 1820. Soon afterward he wrote an article on the Laibach circular, published in the North American Review, which attracted the attention of politicians. In 1825, he published a Historical Sketch of the Formation of the American Confederacy (8 vol.), and from 1827 to 1835 he edited the American Annual Register. He also published Speeches, Reviews, and Reports (1843) and Merchants' and Shipmasters' Assistant (1829 and 1848).
He was long a leading Whig and protectionist. In 1851, Millard Fillmore appointed him Commissioner to China, but he declined to take office. In September 1855, he was a delegate to the Anti-Nebraska state convention in Syracuse which merged with the Whigs to form the Republican Party in the State of New York.
Joseph's youngest brother, N. Bowditch Blunt, was New York County District Attorney from 1851 to 1854. The other two brothers, Edmund (1799-1866) and George William (1802-1878) followed their father's steps and got involved in nautical affairs. Edmund assisted Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler in surveying the port of New York for the United States Coast Survey in 1817. George W. Blunt was for decades a member, and later secretary, of the Board of Pilot Commissioners, and in 1857 was appointed a New York Harbor Commissioner.
- The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough, Stephen C. Hutchins and Edgar Albert Werner (1867; page 531)
- A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, and British and American Authors, Living and Deceased by Samuel Austin Allibone (page 211; Vol. 1; Childs & Peterson, Philadelphia, 1859)
- List of State Department officials
- THE ANTI-NEBRASKA CONVENTION.; Remarks of Joseph Blunt, Esq., on the Nomination of a State Ticket in NYT on October 2, 1854
- REPUBLICAN STATE CONVENTION in NYT on September 28, 1855
- DEATH OF GEO. W. BLUNT in NYT on April 20, 1878
- Obit of Capt. Edmund Blunt, Joseph Blunt's nephew, in NYT on January 25, 1894
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Blunt, Edmund March". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
Peter B. Sweeny
|New York County District Attorney
Nelson J. Waterbury