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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BELKNAP, Jeremy, clergyman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 4 June 1744: died there, 20 June 1798. He was graduated at Harvard in 1762, and, after teaching school and studying theology, was ordained 18 February 1767, pastor of the Congregational Church in Dover, N. If. On 4 April 1787, he took charge of the Federal street Church, Boston, where he remained until his death. From his fifteenth year he kept notes of his reading, and also a diary, in a series of curious interleaved almanacs. Soon after going to Dover he began his "History of New Hampshire" (lst vol., Philadelphia, 1784; 2d and 3d vols., Boston, 1791-'2), which takes high rank for accuracy, thoughtfulness, and agreeable style, though the part relating to the natural history of the state is worth little, owing to the author's deficient knowledge. The progress of the work was somewhat delayed by the revolution, during which Mr. Belknap was an ardent patriot. The work did not pay expenses, and the author was granted the sum of £50 in its aid by the legislature of New Hampshire. In 1792 he was given the degree of S. T. died by Harvard, and made an overseer of the College. On 23 October of that year he delivered before the Massachusetts historical society, which he had founded two years before, a tercentennial discourse on the discovery of America. He published a life of Watts (1793); two volumes of "American Biographies" (1794, 1798); and a collection of psalms and hymns (1795), of which several were written by himself. In 1796 he published "The Foresters, an American Tale," a humorous apologue, which had originally appeared in the "Columbian Magazine," and was intended to portray the history of the country, with special reference to the formation of the constitution. He was also the author of many miscellaneous pieces, among them several essays on the African slave-trade, to which he was strongly opposed. A life of Dr. Belknap, with selected letters, was published by his granddaughter (New York, 1847).
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