Major John Richardson (4 October 1796 â€“ 12 May 1852) died in poverty in a back street of New York City in 1852, and lies buried in an unknown grave; even so, his writings received more attention in the United States, and in Britain, where he had also lived, than they did in Canada. Richardson has been described as the first Upper-Canadian novelist, and the first Canadian novelist with an international reputation.
John Richardsonâ€™s Tecumseh: Or, The Warrior of the West was first published in London, England, in 1828, under the pseudonymous statement "By an English Officer." The subject of this narrative poem is the famous Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh ("Shooting Star"), a persuasive orator and stout champion of Indian causes, respected by his own and white people alike.
The poem consists of four cantos, each with a varying number of stanzas, and each stanza comprised of eight lines in iambic pentameter, the rhyme scheme being that of Byronâ€™s adaptation of the Italian ottava rima. The naval action on Lake Erie, in which the British force was defeated, forms the main subject of the opening canto.