Robert Walsh (diplomat)

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Robert Walsh publicist by T Sully.jpg

Robert Walsh, Jr. (1785 – February 7, 1859) was a publicist and diplomat. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland.

Education and Europe[edit]

He was one of the first students entered at Georgetown College, graduated in 1801 and began his law course. During a two years' tour of Europe he contributed several articles on the institutions and laws of the United States to the Paris and London papers.

Bar and Literature[edit]

Returning to the United States in 1808 he was admitted to the Bar, and in 1811 established at Philadelphia the "American Review of History and Politics", the first American quarterly review. Thereafter he devoted himself entirely to literature.

Reacting to the U.S. in the European Press and his Publications[edit]

His "Appeal from the Judgment of Great Britain respecting the United States" (1819), an important contribution to the political literature of the era, obtained for him the thanks of the Pennsylvania legislature. The "Appeal" was important also for attacking the anti-American tone of the British periodicals, The Quarterly Review and The Edinburgh Review and for exposing the hypocritical attitude of the British government towards its critique of slavery in America. He founded (1821) and until 1836 edited the Philadelphia "National Gazette", a paper devoted to politics, science, letters, and the fine arts, which William Henry Fry ran.[1]

Reactions to his Book "Didactics[edit]

Lord Jeffrey said of his "Letters on the Genius and Disposition of the French Government": "We must learn to love the Americans when they send us such books as this" ("Edinburgh Review", 1853, 799). He published two volumes of essays, entitled "Didactics", in 1836.[2]

Diplomatic Work[edit]

For health reasons, Walsh moved to Paris in 1837. His house was the popular rendezvous of the learned and distinguished men of France. From 1844 to 1851 he was Consul General of the United States in Paris. Walsh remained in Paris until his death. At his death a writer declared him to be "the literary and intrinsical link between Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton and the men of the present day" (1859).


  • Mary Frederick Lochemes, Robert Walsh: His Story (New York: American-Irish Historical Society. 1941)
  • Joseph Eaton, "From Anglophile to Nationalist: Robert Walsh's "An Appeal from the Judgments of Great Britain"" The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 132, No. 2 (Apr., 2008), pp. 141–171
  1. ^ "About the National Gazette," Library of Congress.
  2. ^ Guy Woodall, "Some Sources of the Essays in Robert Walsh's 'Didactics," Studies in Bibliography Vol. 24, (1971), pp. 184–187

External links[edit]