An American poet and political figure, he is famous for his nine-volume poetic work, Vision of Columbus, and for his poem, The Hasty Pudding. Also an important diplomat, he helped draft the Treaty of Tripoli.
He served as a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army. After the war ended, he started a weekly paper called the American Mercury.
He grew up in what was then the Connecticut Colony. He died of pneumonia in 1812 while traveling through Poland.
He was a close friend of the philosopher Thomas Paine, and he assisted in the publishing of Paine's famous work, The Age of Reason.