John Pendleton Kennedy, an American author, born in Baltimore, Oct. 25, 1795, died in Newport, R. I., Aug. 18, 1870. He graduated at Baltimore college in 1812, and in 1816 was admitted to the practice of the law, which he followed successfully for 20 years. In 1818-'20, in connection with his friend Peter Hoffman Cruise, he published the "Red Book," a serial in prose and verse issued about once a fortnight. He was a member of the Maryland house of delegates in 1820-'23. He warmly espoused the cause of President J. Q. Adams, and strongly advocated the protective policy. In 1832 he published "Swallow Barn, or a Sojourn in the Old Dominion," descriptive of plantation life in Virginia; and in 1835 "Horseshoe Robinson, a Tale of the Tory Ascendancy," the most successful of his writings. In 1838 he published " Rob of the Bowl, a Legend of St. Inigoe's," relating to the Maryland province in the days of Cecilius Calvert. All three works, revised and illustrated, were republished in New York in 1852. Mr. Kennedy was elected to congress in 1838, and one of the whig presidential electors in 1840. He was reelected to congress in 1841 and 1843, was defeated by a small vote in 1845, and in 1846 was returned to the Maryland house of delegates, and chosen speaker.
In 1849 appeared his "Life of William Wirt, Attorney General of the United States." In 1852 President Fillmore appointed him secretary of the navy, in which position he warmly favored Perry's Japan expedition and Kane's second arctic voyage in search of Sir John Franklin. He retired in March, 1853. Of his occasional writings and addresses, the best known are "Quodlibet" and "Defence of the Whigs." During the civil war he wrote "Mr. Ambrose's Letters on the Rebellion " (New York, 1865). At his death he was provost of the university of Maryland, vice president of the Maryland historical society, chairman of the trustees of the Peabody academy, and a member of various literary and scientific institutions. His "Life," by H. T. Tuckerman, was published in 1871.