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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OSBORN, Selleck, journalist, born in Trumbull, Connecticut, in 1783; died in Philadelphia, Pc., 1 October, 1826. After receiving an English education he entered a printing-office in Danbury, Connecticut, at twelve years of age. In August, 1805, with Timothy Ashley, he established the Litchfield "Witness" by invitation of Democrats in that town, which was then a stronghold of Federalism. Mr. Osborn, who was sole editor of the paper, wielded a caustic and somewhat unscrupulous pen and gave much offence by his personalities, he was finally found guilty of a libel and sentenced to the payment of a heavy fine, in default of which he was committed to jail, where he remained a year, preferring, as he said, to have his body imprisoned rather than his mind. Much political capital was made from this incident, and Osborn was regarded as a martyr by his party throughout the country. Indignation meetings were held in distant states, while a committee visited his jail and issued weekly bulletins describing indignities to which he was subjected. These accusations were denied by the sheriff, but the excitement finally became such that a demonstration was made on 6 August, 1806, which was attended by Democrats from far and near. It included a salute of seventeen guns at sunrise, a military and civic procession which passed under Osborn's window with uncovered heads, giving hint a brigadier's salute, a public meeting with religious services, and a banquet. The prisoner was finally released and resumed control of the "Witness," which was discontinued in the summer of 1807. Osborn was commissioned 1st lieutenant of light dragoons in the United States army on 8 July, 1808, and promoted captain in February, 1811. He served in the war of 1812 on the Canadian frontier, but left the service in May, 1814, and returned to journalism, editing a paper in Bennington, Vermont, then the "American Watchman" at Wilmington, Delaware, and for a short time in 1825 a journal in New York city, advocating the election of John C. Calhoun to the presidency. Afterward he removed to Philadelphia. Osborn began to write verses at a, n early age and attained reputation as a poet. His most popular piece was ":['he Ruins." He published "Poems, Moral, Sentimental, and Satirical " (Boston, 1823).
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