1858). Born in England and arriving in America in 1831, Henry William
Herbert initiated a career as a writer of romances: his best-known fiction,
Ringwood the Rover, was serialized in 1839 and published as a “cheap” novel
in 1843. Under the name “Frank Forester,” he wrote extensively and authoritatively on field sports, which in his day comprised hunting, fishing,
and horsemanship. Despite gaining apparent success in both genres, he
ended his life with suicide. Although the subjects of Herbert’s fiction range widely, Ringwood the
Rover: A Tale of Florida marks an extension of the genre of southwest fiction
into the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.* Herbert followed Ringwood with
Guarica, the Charib Bride: A Legend of Hispaniola (1844) and Tales of the
Spanish Seas (1847). He capitalized on the war with Mexico in Pierre the
Partisan: A Tale of the Marches (1848). His settings parallel James Fenimore
Cooper’s* forays into this area with Mercedes of Castile (1840) and Jack
Tier; or, The Florida Reef (1848). The success of works like Ringwood may
have inspired Cooper’s serial publication of Jack Tier in 1846–1848.
William Southworth Hunt has written Frank Forester: A Tragedy in Exile