John Howard Payne, an American dramatist, born in New York, June 9, 1792, died in Tunis, April 10, 1852. At 13 years of age, while a clerk in a counting house in New York, he edited the " Thespian Mirror," a weekly journal; and in 1807, while a student in Union college, he published 25 numbers of a periodical, "The Pastime." He made his debut as an actor at the Park theatre, New York, Feb. 24, 1809, as "Young Norval," and subsequently appeared in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and elsewhere. On June 4, 1813, he appeared at Drury Lane theatre, London, as "Young Norval," and for nearly 20 years he pursued a career of varied success in England, as actor, manager, and playwright. He translated French dramas, and produced original plays and adaptations, including "Brutus," "Therese, or the Orphan of Geneva," and " Clari." The first, produced in 1818, with Edmund Kean in the principal part, still holds possession of the stage. " Clari," which was produced as an opera, contains the celebrated song "Home, Sweet Home," which alone will preserve Payne's name from oblivion.
In his play of " Charles the Second," the principal part was a favorite with Charles Kemble. In 1832 he returned to the United States, and in 1841 was appointed American consul at Tunis, which office he held at the time of his death.