Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
biographies, although edited, still contain period bias.
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AUSTIN, Benjamin, merchant, born in Boston, 18 November 1752; died there, 4 May 1820. He was a merchant in Boston, and was a political writer before the revolution. In the controversy that raged during the administration of John Adams he wrote fierce newspaper articles, filled with personalities, in advocacy of republican views, and was bitterly assailed in turn. After the triumph of the republican party President Jefferson appointed him commissioner of loans for Massachusetts. He was a member at different times of both houses of the Massachusetts legislature. He wrote a series of articles for the "Independent Chronicle," under the name of "Honestus," and another series signed "Old South." The latter were printed in a volume in 1803. His son, CHARLES AUSTIN, in 1806 assailed Thomas O. Selfridge in State street, Boston, for slandering his father, and was killed by Selfridge, who was tried and acquitted. A report of the trial was published in Boston in 1807.
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