Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GARDINER, Sylvester, physician, born in South Kingston, Rhode Island, 29 June, 1707; died in Newport, 8 August, 1786. After studying medicine in London and Paris he became a practitioner in Boston, a lecturer on anatomy, and a drug merchant. In the sale of drugs he acquired a large fortune, and became proprietor of a part of "Plymouth Put-chase" on the Kennebeck River, His efforts to settle this domain were unceasing from 1753 to the Revolution. About the middle of the century he colonized it with Germans, and settled the town of Pittston, from which the present City of Gardiner, Maine, was afterward set off, annually furnishing the colonists with supplies. He also contributed liberally to the erection of King's chapel, Boston, of which he was a warden, and promoted the introduction of inoculation for the small-pox. He was the compiler and publisher of a prayer-book, built and endowed Christ Church, the first Episcopal Church in Pittston, Maine, and presented that town with a valuable library, which afterward became scattered. He was one of those who signed the address to Governor Hutchinson in 1774, approving that officer's course, and in the year following he became an active supporter of the royal cause. When the British army evacuated Boston in 1776, he left that City and went to Halifax. In 1778 his name appeared in the proscription and banishment act. He removed to England during the war, taking with him but a small proportion of his property, and settled in Peele. About 100,000 acres of his great estate were confiscated and sold, but his heirs recovered it many years afterward. After the war, in 1785, Dr. Gardiner returned to this country and settled in Newport, Rhode Island His remains were interred under Trinity Church in that City, and in the Episcopal Church in Gardiner, Maine, there is a cenotaph to his memory.--His eldest son, John, lawyer, born in Boston in 1731; died near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 15 October, 1793, studied law at the inner temple, London, and was admitted to practice in the courts of Westminster Hall. He became intimate with Churchill, the satirist, with Lord Martsfield, and with John Wilkes, in whose cause he appeared as junior counsel in 1764. He also appeared for Breadmore and Meredith, who, for writings in support of Wilkes, had been imprisoned on a general warrant. He practiced a short time with success in the Welsh circuit, and then procured in 1766 the appointment of attorney general in the Island of St. Christopher, West Indies, where he remained until after the American Revolution, when he returned, in 1783, to Boston. A few years later he removed to Pownalboro, Maine, and represented that town in the Massachusetts legislature until his death. While a member of that body he procured the abolition of the law of primogeniture, promoted several legal reforms, and was earnest but unsuccessful in his arguments for the repeal of the statutes of 1.750 against theatrical entertainments. The law that he sought to abolish remained in force until 1793, when it was repealed. Mr. Gardiner was one of the most influential of the early Unitarians of Boston, and prominently participated in the transformation of King's chapel, of which his father was one of the founders, from an Episcopal into a Unitarian Congregational Church. He met his death by drowning while on his way to the general court of Massachusetts. In connection with his efforts to repeal the anti-theatrical laws while he was a member of the Massachusetts legislature, he published a" Dissertation on the Ancient Poetry of the Romans," with incidental observations on certain superstitions. He also wrote a political tract in verse entitled "Jacobinial," a satire on the republican clubs of Boston, a revision of which by the author was published in Boston in 1795.--His son, John Sylvester John, clergyman and scholar, born in Haverford West, South Wales, in June, 1765; died in Harrow-gate, England, 29 July, 1830. At an early age, about 1770, he was sent to his grandfather, Dr. Svlvester Gardiner, in Boston, for education. Shortly after the opening of the Revolution, and after visiting his father in the West Indies, he was removed to England, and placed in 1776 under the care of Dr. Samuel Parr, by whom he was instructed until 1782. He returned to the United States in 1783 by way of the West Indies, and was accompanied by his father to Boston, where he began the study of law. Subsequently, in 1787, he was ordained deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church by Bishop Provoost, in St. Paul's Church, New York. He then became pastor of the parish of St. Helena, near Beaufort, South Carolina He took priest's orders in 1791, became assistant rector of Trinity Church, Boston, in 1792, and on the death of Bishop Parker, in 1805, succeeded him as rector, continuing to hold that, post until his death. While assistant rector, he taught a large classical school, and afterward instructed a few pupils in his own house. He died while on a foreign tour for his health. He received the degree of A. M. from Harvard in 1803, and that of D.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1813. In 1805-'11 he was president of the Anthology club, which was organized at his house, and for several years conducted the "Anthology and Boston Monthly Review," which was one of the ablest literary periodicals in the United States, and assisted greatly in elevating the standard of letters in this country. It was the remote precursor of the "North American Review," to which Dr. Gardiner was a contributor. To the Anthology club belongs the honor of founding the Boston athenaeum. Dr. Gardiner was a classical scholar of eminence and an eloquent preacher, and exerted a wide influence. He published numerous sermons, delivered before various societies (1802-'23).--Another grandson of Sylvester, Robert Hallowell, born in Bristol, England, about 1782; died in Gardiner. Maine, 22 March, 1864, came to this country in 1792. He was the son of Dr. Sylvester Gardiner's daughter Hannah, and Robert Hallowell, but took the surname of Gardiner in 1802, in obedience to the will of his uncle, on inheriting the latter's estate. He was fitted for College in the Boston Latin-school, and graduated at Harvard in 1801, after which he traveled abroad for sixteen months, and in 1803 returned and settled on his estate, giving much of his time to its cultivation and to advancing the interests of the town of Gardiner, to which he gave a Church, a lyceum, and a public library. He was an active member of the Maine historical society, and was its president from 1846 till 1855.
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