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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BUCKMINSTER, Joseph, clergyman, born in Rutland, Massachusetts, 14 October, 1751 ; died in Readsboro, Vermont, 10 June, 1812. He was graduated in 1770 at Yale, studied three years longer on a Berkeley scholarship, and was a tutor from 1774 till 1778. Thomas, his ancestor, came early to Boston, and died in Brookline in 1656. He was the son of Joseph Buckminster, nephew of Col. William Buckminster, and minister of Rutland, Massachusetts, who published several sermons, and died 27 November, 1792, aged seventy-two years. He became attached, while at New Haven, to a lady of reputation and celebrity, whose history is the basis of Miss Foster's story, "The Coquette." He was ordained in January, 1779, pastor of the North church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire After a ministry of thirty-three years, his health becoming greatly impaired, he left home, 2 June, 1812, accompanied by his wife and two friends, but died a few days after. He was an earnest preacher, distinguished for fervent eloquence, and was interested in the controversy that led to a division in the Congregational church, adhering to conservative and orthodox principles, while his son adopted liberal views. He published about twenty-five sermons and a short sketch of Dr. McClintock, and was part author of the "Piscataqua River Prayer-Book." Eliza born Lee, his daughter, published "Memoirs of the Rev. Joseph Buckminster, D.D., and of his Son, the Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster" (Boston, 1851).--His son, Joseph Stevens, clergyman, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 26 May, 1784; died 9 June, 1812. He was graduated at Harvard in 1800, studied theology and general literature, and was for a time an assistant in Phillips Exeter academy, where he had Daniel Webster as one of his pupils. In October, 1804, he preached in Boston for the first time, and accepted, in 1805, an invitation from the Brattle street society there. A voyage to Europe was rendered necessary for the restoration of his health; and in 1806-'7 he traveled in England and on the continent. While in London he purchased many books for the Boston Athenveum. He was an active member of the anthology club, famous for the gifted men it included, and for haying originated one of the first purely literary periodicals of this country. In 1809 he delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa society of Harvard an address on "The Dangers and Duties of Men of Letters." He was a celebrated preacher and a contributor to periodicals. He directed the new edition of the Greek Testament of Griesbach in 1808. In 1811 he was appointed the first lecturer on biblical criticism at Harvard; but, while preparing for this office, he was attacked with epilepsy, a disease with which he was affected during his entire life, and died after a few days. In 1808 he published a collection of hymns for the use of his society. Samuel C. Thacher published a volume of his sermons, with a memoir of his life and character,, in 1814. His collected works were issued in two volumes (Boston, 1839).
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