John Neal, an American author, born in Falmouth mow Portland), Me., Aug. 25, 1793. His parents were members of the society of Friends, with which he also was connected until the age of 25, when, principally for his inability to "live peaceably with all men," he received his formal dismissal. About the age of 12 he was employed in Portland as a shop boy; a few years later he taught drawing and penmanship in the principal towns of Maine; in 1814 - "15 he was a dry-goods retailer and jobber in Boston and New York, and afterward established himself in Baltimore as a wholesale dealer in partnership with John Pierpont. In 1S16 they failed, and Neal began the study of the law. He read through a legal course intended to embrace a period of several years in a twelvemonth, besides attending lectures and studying several languages. In 1816 he produced a review of the works of Byron, written it is said in four days, which appeared from month to month until completed in the "Portico." a Baltimore magazine. In 1817 he published his first novel, " Keep Cool" (2 vols., Baltimore), originally called "Judge Not," followed the next year by "The Battle of Niagara, Goldau, and other Poems." In 1819 appeared "Otho, or the Bastard," a five-act trage-dv; and about the same time he assisted Dr. Watkins in writing the "History of the American Revolution by Paul Allen." Admitted to Maryland bar in 1819, he entered upon practice, but continued his literary labors.
Besides preparing an index for "Giles's Register." then amounting to upward of 50 volumes, he published in 1823 the novels "Seventy-Six, a Romance of the Revolution," "Logan," "Randolph," and "Errata." They were severally written, according to bis own account, in periods of from 27 to 89 days. He went to England in January, 1824, and wrote articles for various periodicals, including "Sketches of the five American Presidents and the five Candidates for the Presidency" for "Blackwood's Magazine." His literary efforts attracted the notice of Jeremy Ben-tham, who invited him to take up his residence in his house, of which he remained an inmate during a considerable portion of his stay in England. In 1827 he returned to America, and settled in Portland, where he employed himself in practising law, writing, and lecturing; and that no superfluous energy might run to waste, established gymnasiums and gave lessons to large classes in sparring and fencing." This life he continued till 1850, when he gave up his profession.
He also published "Brother Jonathan (3 vols.. London and Edinburgh 1825); "Rachel Dyer"' (Portland, 1828) "Bentham's Morals and Legislation" (Boston, 1830); "Authorship, a Tale" (1833); "The Down Easters" (2 vols., New- York, 1833); "One Word More" (1854), essays of a religious character; " True Womanhood, a Tale" (Boston, 1859); "Wandering Recollections of a Somewhat Busy Life " (18(59); and "Portland Illustrated " (1874).