Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DAWSON, Henry Barton, historian, born in Gosberton, Lincolnshire, England, 8 June 1821. He came with his parents to New York in 1834. In 1840 he began contributing to the daily press, and in 1845'6 devoted his evenings to the editorship of the "Crystal Fount," a temperance newspaper. His first historical composition was a "History of the Park" and its vicinity, which was published in the "Corporation Manual" (1855). In 1858 he began the publication, in serial form, of his "Battles of the United States by Sea and Land," and became involved in a controversy concerning the merits of General Israel Putnam. The controversy was carried on by correspondence in the Hartford "Post," and attracted much attention, and the legislature of Connecticut took special action on the subject. The letters were subsequently published in book form, and copies were sold as high as $50. In 1862 Mr. Dawson made a complete transcript of the receipts and disbursements of moneys for the municipal purposes of New York during the occupation of that City by the British army, 1776 to 1783, from the original vouchers. In 1863 he edited the "Federalist," the distinguishing feature of his work being the restoration of the original text and the rejection of unauthorized mutilations, its publication called forth an attack by John Jay and James A. Hamilton, and a long controversy ensued, which was afterward reprinted in a volume entitled "Current Fictions tested by Uncurrent Facts" (1864). In 1865 he became editor of the " Gazette," a democratic newspaper published in Yonkers. The first page of the paper was occupied by historical and bibliographical material. Judge Nelson, of the U. S. Supreme Court, once ordered a case to be reargued, in order that articles bearing on it which had appeared in the "Gazette" after the case had been argued, might be judicially admitted as authorities. In 1866 Mr. Dawson became editor of the "Historical Magazine," which in 1877 he enlarged to double its previous size. He is a member of many learned societies, and has read before them a large number of papers. He has published in book form " Battles of the United States by Sea and Land" (New York, 1858);" The Federalist" (1863 ; 3d ed., 1864); "Current Fictions" (1864); "Recollections of the Jersey Prison Ship, by Captain Thomas Dring, one of the Prisoners," edited from the original manuscript (1865); " Rutgers against Waddintgton" (1866); and "Westchester County in the Revolution" (1886).
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