Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CROSWELL, Harry, clergyman, born in West Hartford, Connecticut, 16 June 1778; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 13 March 1858. He was educated under the care of Rev. Dr. Perkins and Dr. Noah Webster. When quite young, he entered his brother's printing office in Catskill, New York, and soon became editor of a paper issued there. He founded a Federalist newspaper called the "Balance" in Hudson, New York, in 1802, which became noted for the bitterness and scathing sarcasm of its editorials; and Mr. Croswell became involved in many libel suits. The most celebrated of these was caused by an article on Jefferson, published in the "Wasp," a paper controlled by Mr. Croswell, and Alexander Hamilton's last and one of his finest speeches was made in Croswell's defense at the trial. Croswell afterward edited a political newspaper in Albany; whither he removed in 1809 and was again prosecuted for libel by a Mr. South-wick, who recovered damages. Croswell called on his friends for money to make good this amount, and on their refusal determined to enter the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, though he had been brought up a Congregationalist. He was ordained deacon, 8 May 1814, and had charge of Christ Church, Hudson, till 1 Jan., 1815, when he became rector of Trinity Church, New Haven, Connecticut, then the only Episcopal Church in the City, holding services in an old wooden building on Church Street till the opening of the new Church edifice, on 22 February 1816. He remained in New Haven till his death.
One who knew him writes: "His tall figure and manly form, clerical garb, and high-topped boots with knee-buckles, impressed every beholder as they saw him walk the Streets of New Haven. He was not a great preacher, but he had an extraordinary knowledge of human nature, and could ingratiate himself into every man's heart." Trinity College gave him the degree of D.D. in 1831. He published " Young Churchman's Guide "(4 vols.); "Manual of Family Prayers" (New Haven); "Guide to the Holy Sacrament "; and a "Memoir" of his son, Rev. William Croswell, D.D. (New York, 1854). He left in manuscript "Annals of Trinity Church" and a voluminous diary. See "Letters of Waldegrave," by Rev. G. W. Nichols (New York, 1886).--His son, William, clergyman, born in Hudson, New York, 7 November 1804; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 9 November 1851, was graduated at Yale in 1822, taught a select school in New Haven, with an elder brother, and in 1824 was engaged with his cousin, Edwin Croswell, as assistant editor of the Albany "Argus."
He entered the General theological seminary in New York in 1826, and pursued his studies with Bishop Brownell, in Hartford, in 1827, at the same time editing the "Episcopal Watchman." He was ordained in 1828, and, after holding several pastorates, became rector of the recently organized Church of the Advent in Boston, where he remained till his death. His manner of conducting the Church services led to a controversy with Bishop Eastburn, by whom he was officially censured. His life was one of charity and religious devotion. Trinity College gave him the degree of D. D. in 1846. He wrote numerous short lyrical poems, some of which were published in his father's memoirs of him, and his "Poems, Sacred and Secular," were edited, with a memoir, by Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D. (New York, 1859).
--Harry Croswell's nephew, Edwin Croswell, journalist, born in Catskill, N. Y., 29 May 1797; died in Princeton, N.J., 13 June 1871, became assistant editor of his father's paper, the "Catskill Recorder," his first article being a defense and vindication of the soldiers drafted for the defense of New York during the war of 1812. After the retirement of his father, his management of the "Recorder" attracted the attention of the democratic leaders, and in 1824 he was invited to Albany by Martin Van Buren, Benjamin F. Butler, 'and others, to edit the "Argus," and also to become state printer. 3Ir. Croswell remained in Albany thirty years, changed the " Argus" from a semi-weekly to a daily journal, and made it one of the chief democratic organs in the country. As a member of the so-called "Albany Regency," a group of politicians who directed the party councils in the state, it was his duty to preserve order in the ranks through the columns of his journal, and to his tact in performing this duty may be largely ascribed the position of the democrats in New York at that time. The leading articles in the "Argus" were copied in the minor party papers throughout the state as embodying all that was sound of democratic principles, and for many years it was regarded as political apostasy to question the authority of the party organ. When the Whigs obtained possession of the state in 1840, Mr. Croswell was succeeded in the office of state printer by Thurlow Weed, but held it again from 1844 till 1847. Subsequently he found himself opposed to Martin Van Buren and others of his early political associates, through a split in the party. He retired from journalism in 1854 and engaged in business in New York. He published numerous addresses.
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