The Clockmaker; or The Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick of Slickville,, by Thomas Chandler Haliburton, originally appeared as newspaper sketches. Sam Slick's colloquial, vernacular Yankee voice, peddling clocks as well as his views on "human natur," first beguiled Haligonians in 1835 in Joseph Howe's newspaper, The Novascotian. The sketches were collected and published in Halifax, 1836; London and Philadelphia, 1837 (first series); Halifax, London and Philadelphia, 1838 (second series); and 1840 (third series). In 1923 the 3 series were combined in a single publication (ed Ray Palmer Baker, Toronto).
Haliburton found in Sam Slick's Yankee idiom and wit the perfect voice for a running, wryly mocking commentary on Nova Scotia's social scene, its political life and its relations with the US and Britain. Before Charles Dickens achieved recognition, Haliburton was the unrivalled master and most popular writer of comic fiction in English. The Clockmaker was translated into German 1840-42. It has run through almost countless editions to establish Haliburton as one of the founders of North American humour.