mingle up with these personal memoirs the working of party
machinery on that memorable occasion. But in this connection it
must be said, in justice to the deceased, that with every disposition
to cultivate a spirit of forbearance and harmony among his brethren,
he could look on these proceedings only with disgust, and with
utter distrust of the wisdom and integrity of party counsels.
To turn to more pleasant themes : The following greeting to his
namesake and godson, after having been sent home in manuscript,
was published in the Banner : —
TO MY NAMESAKE, WILLIAM CEOSWELL DOANE,
ON HIS BAPTISM.
Childe William, I have little skill,
But much of heart and hope,
To clear from every sign of ill
Thy happy horoscope.
The occult gift is hid from me.
Nor may my art divine
Thy life's unfolded destiny
From this sweet palm of thine.
1832.] CHRIST ClirilCII. 117
Bnt in thy mother's tender love,
Thy father's anxious care,
And, more, the answer from above
To our baptismal prayer —
In these a hallowed influence dwells,
A charm that's heavenlier far
Than migfht of planetary spells
Or culminating star.
The power of holiest rites, fair boy,
The tears that oft will wet
Thy forehead from excess of joy —
These be thy amulet !
On these auspicious prospects rest,
These figure? out thy fate ;
How can they fail to make thee blest —
Blest, if not fortunate ?
A childless man, well may I deem
Thy name my highest pride.
Rich in thy parents' dear esteem.
Though poor in all beside ;
Well may my heart with gladness ache,
Flower of a noble stem.
If one -will love thee for my sake.
As I have honored them.
Boston, Tuesday in Whitsun xoeek, Jun^ 12, 1832.
lu the course of the year, several changes took place in the
pastoral relations of the Episcopal churches in Boston. The Rev.
G. W. DoANE, rector of Trinity Church, was elected to the episco-
pate of New Jersey ; and the Rev. .Iohn H. Hopkins, assistant
minister of the same church, to the episcopate of Vermont. The
Rev. Dr. A. Potter resigned the rectorship of St. Paul's, and the
Rev. .ToHN L. Stone was called to supply the vacancy. But none
of these changes, with the exceptioii of the removal of his friend
DoAXE, affected the incumbent of Christ Church. It was deemed
the imperative duty of Mr. Doane to accept the office to which he
was elected ; but the separation of the two friends, after their long
and confiding intimacy, was exceedingly trying to both. The junior
foresaw that it would be utterly impracticable to take the whole
labor and responsibility of the editorship of the Banner upon him-
self; and as the income, at the low price of the paper, was inade-
quate to sustain an independent editor, measures were immediately
taken for the transfer of the subscription list to the New York
Churchman, and for closing the publication of the Banner in Bos-
118 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1832.
ton. Under date of November 27, he writes: "We unfurl the
Banner once more at half mast, this week, as a signal of distress,
and of our intention to surrender to the Churchman. I am heartily
glad to have my hands clear of it, at any expense ; and our breth-
ren in New York have no less reason to be glad at an accession to
their lists, which will make their paper a source of revenue."
Again, on the 3d of December: "I think our New Haven
subscribers will find the Churchman a desirable exchange for the
Banner, in its larger size, variety of contents, and chiefly from its
being issued from ' head quarters.' It was a thing spoken of at
New York, during our late sojourn, as desirable, that I should
assume the management of that paper. But God forbid ! Except
as a correspondent, I purpose never to have any further connection
with the periodical press."
The following is found in his manuscript collections, under date
of New York, October 31, 1832, the day on which his friend Doane
was consecrated to the episcopate of New Jersey. This sufficiently
explains its meaning.
Let no gainsaying lips despise thy youth ;
Like his, the great Apostle's favorite son.
Whose early rule at Epliesus begun :
Thy Urim and thy Thummim — Light and Truth —
Be thy protection from the Holy One :
And for thy fiery trials, be there shed
A sevenfold grace on thine anointed head.
Till thy "right onward" course shall all be run.
And when thy earthly championship is through.
Thy warfare fought, thy battle won,
And heaven's own palms of triumph bright in view,
May this thy thrilling welcome be : " Well done !
Because thou hast been faithful over few,
A mightier rule be thine, O servant good and true!"
In his letter, dated on the last day of the year, he says, " To-
morrow we open church again, in commemoration of the Circum-
cision, and intend to do so on all the holy days throughout the year.
This has become the more desirable, in consequence of Trinity
Church being closed on those days, since Bishop Doane abdicated
the rectorship. I expect that we shall commence with great spirit,
and I have endeavored to secure a better attendance than I have
ever vet seen in the great central churches."
After a tew touching reflections on the death of friends during
1833.] CHRIST CHURCH. 119
the year, he closes this letter thus : " Alas ! how m.iny are the dead
of 1832, and some of them how dear ! Who are to be the dead
of 183:3 1 None of us, I trust, who shall be found otherwise than
as those who wait for the coming of their Lord. Amen."
Among the leading incidents of this year may be recorded the
result of a negotiation which is alluded to in one of the letters of
the last. He had declined an informal proposal to resign the rec-
torship of Christ Church, Boston, for the purpose of assuming the
editorship of the New York Churchman. But this refusal was by
no means satisfactory to his New York friends ; and early in the
present year, a new and more formal effort was made to induce him
to change his purpose, and to consent once more to enter upon the
cares and responsibilities of editorial life. In a letter to his father,
of the 4th of March, he speaks of a direct overture from some of
the leading Episcopalians of New York to accept, with a liberal
salary, the entire management of the Churchman ; and his friend
DoANE so far favored the plan, that he offered, if it should be
thouglit desirable, to divide the responsibility, and act jointly with
him in the enterprise. He continues : " I soon convinced him,
however, that it was a line of life any thing but desirable, and one
which all my past experience has led me to regard with loathing
and dread. But for this experience, I might be tempted to regard
such a proposition favorably ; but if I ever embark in such a busi-
ness again, 1 do it with eyes open to all the anxieties, privations,
and weariness of the flesh which is sure to follow the oversight of
any press. . . . Nothing but the most entire convictions of
duty could ever again overcome my reluctance to encounter this
painful drudgery ; and as no such convictions of duty are upon my
mind in this case, I instructed him most peremptorily to decline.
A still and quiet parish for me ; and the less I have to do
with the great world, so much the better. God wilhng, I shall let
nothing divert me again from this original purpose of my heart :
though not my will, but His be done ! "
But notwitbstiuiding this peremptory refusal, his friends in New
York seemed unwilling to abandon the plan ; and he soon received
from one of the soundest, and most judicious, and influential cler-
gymen of the city an urgent appeal to every motive that might be
deemed most likely to govern his decision, to review the case, and
endeavor to give them a favorable answer. The letter was written
120 MEMOIIl OF WILLIAM CllOSWELL. [1833.
in the most kind, persuasive, and flattering' terms ; and it produced,
as he acknowledges to his father in the subjoined extract, some
doubt and misgiving as to the correctness of his decision. " My
dear fatlier, on the subject of tlie proposal contained in the above,
I have already expressed my sentiments. I must confess, notwith-
standing, that I am somewhat staggered by this appeal. I am
mistaken, if it does not move you also. I hope I am not variable ;
but, more than this, I hope I shall always change when change is
for the better. Thougli I am jiot prepared to avo\v any alteration
in my disposition to entertain favorably this plan, as already given
to you, it is obvious that it cannot consistently be rejected without
miich reflection and consideration. With regard to my situation
here, I never felt more perplexity. My parochial prospects were
never more unclouded than at this moment ; but my apprehension
is that they will not long be suffered to continue so. All I can say
is, that mine hour is not yet come. ... I cannot help shrink-
ing at the id*ea of linking myself once more to the weekly press ;
and yet when I consider what a paper rnight be made at New York,
with such coadjutors as and , my spirit kindles again
within me, and I feel willing to devote myself to such prospects of
usefulness ; and then, again, I pause to inquire whether I am not
building an unsubstantial pageant, the baseless fabric of a vision,
such as can never exist except in an ardent and ill-regulated imagi-
nation. Whether real or fanciful, however, these thoughts of my
head trouble me. I commit the case to God in prayer, and to you
in this wise. To no other human being here can I open my mind,
except Bishop Doane. I would like to have you review your own
opinions, and communicate by the very first mail ; and till I liear,
I shall feel much in suspense. Understand, however, that I can
bring myself to contemplate the acceptance of this invitation only
on condition of its being associated with some easy parochial cure
in the neighborhood of the city. At my time of life, I would not
willingly withdraw from the ranks of the working clergy ; and with
my present stock of sermons, I should have no difliculty on that
score. In short, to end as I began, I know not what to do. I am
not sure but it will be my duty to go; and I trust inclination will
surrender its claims, if I can find out that it has any for a different
course. You can of course view the question in all its bearings
more dispassionately than I, and I shall be governed mainly by your
To this dutiful and affecting a])peal his father had but one answer
to give ; and this answer was founded on long experience and
observation, and was in perfect accordance with all the former
opinions which he liad expressed on similar subjects. Whether
right or not, it had the effect to fortify the son as to the correctness
of his previous decision ; and thougli a ])arisli was offered him, in
1833.] CHRIST CHURCH. 121
addition to the other inducements, lie felt it to be Iiis duty to decline
the proposal. His own language will best express his feelings. In
a letter of April 3d he says, " I confess I have had a great strife of
feeling with regard to 's application ; and all the changes of
mood and various fluctuations of my irresolute mind have been laid
by turns before you in my frequent letters. You will perceive by my
last, in which I express myself without reserve, as in all before, that
I have at length settled down into the same convictions which you
yourself entertain ; and if I had been doubtful, I need not assure
you that yours, received this morning, would have satisfied me that
it was not my duty to take a step so contrary to your wishes. On
this subject, therefore, you may set your mind at ease ; and, at the
same time, I shall relieve my own from all its past perplexity, by
sending in the next mail a peremptory refusal to the gentlemen
of New York. I never did any thing more cheerfully than I shall
do this; and I shall once more bend myself, with fresh interest, to
the duties of a parish, of whose entire and unshaken devotion to
me I was never so ftdly assured."
• But this subject must not be dismissed without adding, in justice
to his own memory and to the credit of his warm-hearted corre-
spondent, a few extracts from his rejjly to his last letter.
New York, April 11, 1833.
Rev. and dear Brother: Your letter of the 4th instant was received
in due course, and was last evening submitted to the trustees of the press,
in lieu of that which I had fondly lioped to present — a ratification of an
arrangement to do your Master's work in the wide field to which we would
have called you. That you have been calm, single-hearted, and conscien-
tious in making your decision, I cannot doubt ; that it has been judicious, I
will not question ; that it has been grievous in an extreme to those, whom,
had you known as I do, you would, I think, have been more anxious to help
in their work, I know but too well. In one way only can you make amends
for the pain you have given us. Let that pen, the powers of which appear
so plainly even when it is attempting to prove its own weakness, be statedly
and freely employed as a coadjutor in the work, to which you have refused
to consecrate its whole energies. Pray, help me with scraps -— if they be
but scraps — of thoughts, doctrinal, practical, devotional, or critical, in prose
or verse, on subjects old or new, foreign or domestic, such as come to you
most naturally, and such as give pleasure, relief, or comfort to a mind tasked
with other things. Thus you can do something to alleviate a burden, which,
I fear, you have fixed on me, even till it may crush me, and thus can at least
show more kindness than he deserves to your faithful and true friend and
The next prominent incident to be recorded is a most perilous
accident, which occurred on his return from a long visit to his
friends in New York, New Jersey, Albany, Troy, Catskill, and New
Haven. The first intimation of this accident received by his family
in New Haven was through a paragra[)h in a Boston newspaper,
stating the simple fact that the Rev. William Croswell had been
severely injured by the upsetting of a stage at Walpole, a post town
122 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROS\^rELL. [1833.
some twenty miles from Boston, and had been taken up in a state
of insensibility. There was neither telegraph nor railroad at that
time, nor was there any, direct mode of conveyance except by the
mail stages. His friends, therefore, were compelled to wait in
painful suspense for the arrival of the eastern mail. But the mail,
when it came, brought no letter ; and this circumstance very much
increased their anxiety. It was now resolved, therefore, to despatch
his brother Sherman by the first stage, to ascertain the true state
of the case, and to be ready to render any assistance that might be
required. He took his seat, and had been gone half an hour, when
his father, on stejjping into the post office, found a letter, in the
handwriting of William, which had been miscarried to Newark,
N. .r., on the previous day, and was now returned by the southern
mail! Learning from this letter that the injury was not as serious
as had been apprehended, it was thought advisable to prevent his
brother's proceeding on the journey, under all tlie painful suspense
necessarily arising from the circumstances; hence a messenger was
despatched to overtake the mail stage, to relieve him, as well from
the fatigue of the journey as from the anxiety of his mind. The
letter above mentioned, under date of May 20, after giving a graphic
and pleasing account of the commencement of his journey, from
New York to Providence, in the splendid steamer " Boston," pro-
ceeds thus to describe the accident and its results : " For the
remainder of my journey, I am sorry to say that its end did not
correspond with its beginning ; though, by the mercy of God, I am
the monument of an almost miraculous preservation. We arrived
at Providence at half past four o'clock on Saturday morning ; and
I immediately took my seat in the mail Pilot, which goes consid-
erably in advance of the other coaches. We got on rapidly and
safely to tlie half-way house at Walpole ; but as we drove headlong
towards the door, with a smart flourish, the carriage separated from
the wheels, and precipitated every thing to the ground with great
violence — baggage, passengers, and pieces of the carriage, all in
one tumultuous heap. Marvellous to relate, though the carriage
was broken to fragments, by the divine goodness no person was
seriously injured ; but your son and servant, who was on the box
with the driver, with characteristic misfortune, made the nearest
approaches to it. I was somewhat stunned by the shock, and, when
I recovered, found myself in bed, with my forehead considerably
scratched and defaced, but not in the shghtest degree endangered.
When the physician arrived, however, he insisted on bleeding and
giving medicine ; and that the operation might have its full advan-
tage, I consented to remain another day at Walpole, and had
excellent care taken of me. Rumors of my shipwreck, more or
less exaggerated, in the mean time reached Boston ; and my friends
were soon on their way in troops to see me. Early yesterday they
1833.] CHRIST CHURCH. 123
came in a close carriage, and got me into town very comfortably
before nightfall. Of my health to-day you may judge something
by my ability to write this letter, but more from my solemn and
explicit assurance that I am perfectly sound, mind and limb, and,
excepting a little weakness and soreness occasioned by the jar and
straining of the cords, my health is excellent. What most was
apprehended was some aftection of the head and brain ; but of this
there lias not been the slightest symptom. You must not allow
yourselves, therefore, to have your apprehensions excited by any
thing you may see in the newspapers, or from irresponsible sources.
The rumor, no farther off than Boston, was that several of us were
killed instantly. More than half of my parish would have been at
Walpole to-day, had I remained. I need not tell you with what
kindness I have been overpowered, the moment my friends heard
of the circumstances."
In a letter a week later, May 27, after speaking of the gross
carelessness which occasioned the delay of his first letter, and caused
so nnich suspense and anxiety among his New Haven friends, he
says, "Had I known that you were all in the dark about me so long,
without any information but those exaggerated and contradictory
rumors in the papers, which were worse than ignorance, I am sure
it would have had more of a tendency to retard the progress of my
recovery than the accident itself As it was, I had gained a great
start before your letter came to hand ; and having the whole of the
drama before me, with all its scenes of doubt and perplexity clear-
ing up to a happy and satisfactory development, a feeling of grati-
tude predominates over all the rest, and I cannot find it in my
heart to make a clamor and outcry about it. I should be sorry
indeed to have had Sherman taken his wearisome way hither, with
such painful impressions on his mind ; but I need not assure him
and you that we should all be exceedingly glad to have seen him."
In a subsequent letter, Sunday, June 2, he indulges in a line or
two of pleasantry on the subject of this accident : " The ' reverend
clergyman,' your son, who has figured of late so much on the
' stage,' in the higher walks of tragedy, has proved to-day that his
powers are still undiminished in another line, by preaching thrice,
and baptizing, besides attending Sunday schools and Bible classes,
and sundry et ceteras." But he does not close, without returning
to that serious train of thought which pervades all his writings.
Speaking of his mother's proposed journey, he says, " I sincerely
rejoice that no part of it need be in the perils of mail coaches. We
are equally in the care, however, of a superintending Providence,
whether in motion or at rest, and, with all earthly appliances of
comfort around, can never say, Now am I secure. It is right that
it is so, that we may feel at every moment our entire dependence
on our almighty Preserver. My first sermon, on my return to my
124 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1833.
my people, was on this subject, from Paul's noble avowal, when in
clanger of shipwreck, " Whose I am, and whom I serve," showing
how we are God's by right of creation and redemption, and the
duty of avowing and exhibiting by our conduct that we are his, in
whatever circumstances we may be placed.
Again, on the 10th of .Tune, he writes, " I am still well to do, as
you may easily judge by token, having sustained without flinching
three entire services yesterday, performed the baptismal office three
times, and done all other things which a Christian minister can do
in the Sunday school, Bible class, &c. Let no man's heart fail
him, therefore, because of me. God has been truly gracious, and
his holy name be praised."
It is evident from these extracts, and from several corresponding
notes in his diary, that he felt no apprehension from the effects of
the accident. But it is to be observed that, from this time forward,
he frequently alluded in his letters to some irregularities in his sys-
tem, to which he had hitherto been a stranger. Headache and
chills, languor and inertness, coldness and irritability of the stomach,
and an excessive degree of nervous sensibility, at times disturbed
him. Nor is it improbable that a most singular involuntarv con-
traction of the muscles on that side of the face and head on which
he fell, by which he was sorely afflicted in the latter years of his
life, may be imputed to this cause; and there is but too much reason
to apprehend that it laid the foundation for the malady, which
finally, in such a sudden and extraordinary manner, terminated
In collecting the poetical productions which are preserved in
tiiese pages, it is easy to perceive the peculiar appropriateness of
one of the terms by which the writer himself chose to characterize
these various gems. They were indeed " fugitive." With the
exception of those which were expressly prepared for publica-
tion, during his connection with the periodical press, they were
often thrown off" without any pains to mark their origin or the
occasion on which they were written. Sometimes they were con-
veyed in private letters to his friends, sometimes sent anonymously
to the public newspapers, and sometimes put aside among his mis-
cellaneous papers, without date or signature. But some few of
them were transcribed, probably by his own sanction, in a man-
uscript collection ; and by the help of these, with occasional allu-
sions in his diary and correspondence, it is not difficult to arrest and
identify many of these fugitives, and restore them to their rightful
Among these the following is found. It was addressed to a
young and warm-hearted friend. Captain Joseph P. Couthouy.*
* ;Mr. Couthouy's name Avill liequently appear, in the subsequent pages of
1833.] CHRIST CHUIICII. 125
when on the point of embarking for tiie Mediterranean, in a mer-
chant vessel, named, under his own direction, " The Heber."
All gentle gales,
Serene and smiling skies, thy course attend ;
The " winds of God " and goodness fill thy sails,
My faithful friend.
And if the trust
Be not in vain, that Heaven does still assign
Our guardians from the spirits of the just,
Be Heber's thine I
And when 'tis o'er,
The stormy passage of our life, may we
Meet in that world where he has gone before,
Without a sea. W. C.
The following, as he states in his diary, was written at midnight
of the Epiphany, and is found in the manuscript collection. It has
probably never appeared in print.
'Tis the very verge of the midnight deep,
And I hark for the passing bell
That will presently come, with its solemn sweep,
To bid the last hour farewell ;
A lonely vigil it is to keep.
As I sadly think of those
Who have sunk away to their long, last sleep.
And tlieir undisturbed repose.
But O, how happy to thinly, this night.
Of the eyes that are shut, like flowers,
To open again more fresh and bright,
With the brighter and fresher hours.
The hosts of God, wlio pitch their tents
All good men round about,
Protect their slumbering innocence.
And " make their dreams devout."
this work, as the friend and correspondent of the rector of Clirist Church, and
especially at a later period of his life, while he was attached to the scientific
corps of the South Sea exploring expedition.
126 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSAVELL. [1833.