themselves almost spontaneously, and have received little or no
CHRIS'J' CHURCH. 130
My brother, I have read
Of holy men, in Christ who fell asleep,
For whom no bitter tears of woe were shed —
I could not weep !
And thou thyself art one,
O man of loves, and truth without alloy !
The Master calleth, and thy work well done,
Enter thy joy !
To such as thee belong
The harmonies in which all heaven unite,
To share the " inexpressive nuptial song,"
And walk in white !
But O, thy Church ! thy home !
Thy widowed home ! — who shall forbid to grieve ?
How may they bear the desolating gloom
Such partings leave ?
Great Shepherd of the flock !
E'en Thou, whose life was given for the sheep,
Sustain them in the overwhelming shock.
And safely keep !
A few months later, but before the memory of this painful event
had been in the slightest degree effaced, while the strains of his
plaintive lute were still sounding in the ears and touching the hearts
of thousands, his sympathies were again awakened by the death of
another of his clerical brethren. On this, as on every other subject,
it is expedient, as far as practicable, to copy his own words, because
no other language could so thoroughly illustrate the devout spirit
which constituted the brightest trait in his character. Under date
of October 20, he says, " Of the many instances of mortality among
the clergy, which come to us with a solemn warning to be also
ready, there is one which circumstances have brought near to me
in a most affecting matmer. I allude to our brother Blanchard,
late of Annapolis, and last of Baltimore. He died after a short
confinement, and has entered, I am sure, upon the rest that remains
for the people of God. He was here on his annual visit to his
friends in August, and preached for me. He was in fine health and
the prime of life, and few, apparently, had a surer tenure on exist-
ence. He spent several hours with me, and I was delighted with
his conversation and society ; so mild was he, so gentle, and so
courteous, and yet so firm and decided. He was indeed a perfect
140 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1834.
pattern of Christian ' conciliation without compromise ; ' and it was
impossible to know him and not to love him. I was much shocked
to hear of his death on Monday, with a message from his sister
(who resides here, and by whom he was almost idolized) to come and
comfort her. I did what I could ; but, alas ! how poor and una-
vailing were mere human sympathy, if we could not 'rejoice for the
consolation ' of the divine teacher. This consolation the friends of
the deceased must be favored with in the most eminent degree, for
he was a good man, and the Holy Ghost was upon him. His life
was upright, and his end was peace. Let me die the death of the
righteous, and let my last end be hke his."
A page or two must now be devoted to personal matters, for the
purpose of showing with what steadiness and uniformity he resisted,
up to that time, every inducement to draw him away from the post
of duty which he then occupied. By the death of Dr. Montgomery,
the rectorship of St. Stephen's Church, Philadelphia, had become
vacant; and he was soon informed, by his friend Bishop Doane,
that his name, without his knowledge or consent, had been enrolled
among a number of candidates for the place, and that there was
evidently a preponderating influence in his favor among the leading
members of the parish. It was but natural that his friend, with his
characteristic kindness and affection, should urge him to look favor-
ably upon a suggestion so apparently advantageous ; and he was
advised at least to accept an invitation to visit the parish, and
officiate for a Sunday or two in the church. Flattered as he may
have been by this proposal, he was nevertheless exceedingly morti-
fied that his name had been thus brought into view ; and he was so
impatient to express to his friend his utter aversion to any such
measure, that, without even consulting his father, which he seldom
omitted to do on any important question, he promptly replied ; and
the substance of his reply is thus given : " I instantly issued my
' solemn protest,' and entreated my excellent friend Doane, by the
love he b(u-e me, to have my name withdrawn vvitliout loss of time;
that I felt injured in my own estimation by the use that had been
made of it ; that I was content to abide as I was, and to die even
here within these walls; and that if I ever felt that I was thwarting
my destiny by a city life, it was when I dreamed of some (piiet
little nook, fast by a river side, where my days might pass away as
smoothly as the gentle stream ; that I had never, and would never,
because conscientiously I could not, voluntarily place myself in the
attitude of a seeker for any change, and least of all such a change
as he contemplated ; that were I to receive a unanimous call from
St. Stephen's to-morrow, I should think it misdirected, and feel it
my duty to decline."
Having already made arrangements for visiting Burlington, he
1834.] CHRIST CHURCH. 141
did not feel, after this ])lain and unequivocal avowal, any delicacy
in carrying out these arrangements. Accordingly, he prepared to
commence his journey on the 6tli of May, but was detained for a
day or two by a violent storm. In the mean time, he states to his
father that he had received a letter from his friend Doane, disavow-
ing any undue officiousness in suffering his name to come before the
people of St. Stephen's, telling him, however, at the same time,
witli accustomed plainness, that his "fastidiousness was whimsical
and absurd in the last degree." And "so," he adds, "the baseless
fabric of that vision is dissolved, much to my mind, and to the relief
of many minds here." He pursued his journey to New York, Bur-
lington, and Philadelphia, and returned by the way of New Haven,
where he spent several days, and, in consequence of the illness of
the Rev. Mr. Keese, was persi^aded to supply the pulpits of the two
churches in alternation with his father. He finally returned to
Boston on the 31st of May, having, according to his own account,
had a most delightful excursion. His first letter after his return,
June 2, is full of thanksgiving and praise. " Laus Deo ! Praise
the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name.
. . . To conclude as I began, I trust I have a grateful sense
of His mercy, who has thus far kept me under the care of his good
providence, and conducted me in safety to the end of my journey,
and shall endeavor to manifest it by more singleness of desire to
live to his glory."
•lune 9, he speaks of having heard, from his friend Doane, that
his parish at Burlington had provided the means for employing an
assistant. "Of course," he adds, " of all the world he would prefer
me. But no : I have one answer for that and all other applications
at present. My hour is not yet come. When the clock which I
am set to wind up here runs down, and it is all over, I shall flee
to some other city. But I cannot conscientiously go yet. I think
better days will come, and that speedily. Whether or not, I trust
I shall have patience given me to wait and see." In another part
of this letter, he alludes with much sadness to the impaired health
of Mr. Keese : "I am sorry for the cloud that seems destined to
darken the brightness of your prospects. Try, however, to relieve
your mind of too much anxiety for the future. Hitherto hath the
Lord wonderfully helped you, and he will yet mercifully provide. I
trust Mr. Keese's health will be restored, and that the relations so
pleasantly begun will yet be continued for many a year."
One event took place this summer, which is here alluded to, not
because it is necessarily connected with the subject of these memoirs,
but because attempts were very unjustly made, in certain quarters,
at the time, to involve him in some censure with regard to the
scandalous transaction. This event was the wilful burning of the
142 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSW^ELL. [1834.
nunnery, or Ursuline Convent, on Mount Benedict, in Charlestown,
on the evening of the 11th of August. It is first noted in his diary,
August 12 : " Papers filled with accounts of the abominable out-
rages of the evening previous, in the destruction of the Ursuline
Convent, at Charlestown, by fire." And in a letter of the same
date, he says, " I open my letter to state that the nunnery at Charles-
town, of which I have told you something, was destroyed last night
by a regularly-organized mob, the interior being entirely consumed
by fire, and the walls only standing. The superior, nuns, and board-
ers were allowed one hour only to transport themselves to places
of safety. I fear it will be but the beginning of sorrows, the Irish
population being so numerous, and their feelings so much exasper-
ated. I know all the particulars from an authentic source, and
will give them at another opportunity." These particulars were
subsequently transmitted to his father, in the shape of authentic
documents, under an injunction that they be returned immediately
after perusal. They threw but little light, however, on the causes
of the outrage. But the public feeling had probably been somewhat
prepared to tolerate almost any species of violence by the exagger-
ated reports of the iniquities practised in the convent. A Miss
Reed, an inmate of the institution, had contrived to escape from
what she considered an irksome bondage, and had made representa-
tions, the sincerity of which was never doubted, and which were
of course extremely grating to Protestant ears. But Miss Reed
never manifested any mischievous spirit. Slie quietly sought the
counsel of the rector of Christ Church, and carefully avoided saying
any tiling that might excite public indignation. Injudicious and
designing persons, however, took up the theme, and, by gross ex-
aggeration and exciting appeals to the worst passions of man, no
doubt brought about the disgraceful event. Miss Reed, in the mean
time, embraced the Protestant faith, became a member, and died in
the communion of the Protestant Episcopal Church.* The outrage
* Miss Reed died on the 28th of February, 1838 ; and it is but simple jus-
tice to record the followiiig authentic testimony of the manner in which she
closed her eventful lite. It is transcribed fi-om a letter of March 5, in that
year. " You have doubtless noticed in the papers the death of Miss Reed,
formerly of the Ursuline community. She has been fading away with con-
sumption for the last year. I was not aware of her situation till about two
months since, and frequently visited her. Her mind was much weakened by
disease, but her faith was clear and her hope bright. She was indeed anxious
to dejmrt betbre her time came, and longed for death as a merciful release from
a life of perturbation. I felt it my duty, under the solemnities of approaching
death and judgment, to question her concerning the truth of her printed state-
ment respecting the convent ; and she assured me, with deej) feeling, that it
was, to the best of her knowledge, a faitliful record ; that she did not pretend
that she had not been liable to error, but that she had not intentionally mis-
represented a single circumstance. I did not need this declaration for my own
satisfaction, tor I never doubted her design to tell the whole truth and nothing
but the truth, with regard to her connection with the place, but thought it
might hereafter be important, in order to put gainsayers to silence. In the
1834.] CHRIST CHURCH. 143
came near to producing the most fearful result. The excitement
aniong the Irish Roman CathoHc population in Boston was tremen-
dous, and revenge and retaliation were openly threatened by immense
gatherings of these exasperated people. It required indeed all the
energy and address of their bishop and resident priests to restrain
the tumult, and persuade their followers to leave to the public
authorities to punish the transgressors, and indemnify the sufferers
for their loss. In dismissing the subject, it is but proper to say, that
the offenders were never punished, nor the loss of property ever
made up to the Romish Church. Mount Benedict, on which the
building stood, remains naked and bare, and covered only with
ruins, to tell a tale of reproach which a great and enlightened com-
monwealth should be impatient to bear.
In taking up again the golden thread which runs through the
whole texture of his being, it is but natural to recur, with undis-
guised satisfaction, to the flattering manner in which some of his
earlier devotional poetry was brought, in a substantial form, before
the public, blended, too, with a name as familiar as it is dear to the
Christian world. He alludes to the subject in a letter of March 10,
when, speaking of his friend Bishop Doane, he says, " He is getting
out an edition of Keble's ' Christian Year,' and talks of gather-
ing some of my favorite pieces in an appendix, ' that he may send
us down to posterity together.' The Lord knows I have no poetical
ambition ; and I wish I had no other, uidess, indeed, to help build
up the purity and bliss of His Kingdom before I die." In due time
the volume appeared, inscribed to the young poet in these kind and
aftectionate terms : —
" To MY NEXT Friend and moee than Brother, the Rev. William
Croswell, Rector op Christ Church, Boston, these pious Breathings
of a kindred spirit are most affectionately inscribed. g. w. d.
" St. Mary's PARsoNAfiE, Bitrlingtok, May 27, 1834."
Instead, however, of gathering these selected pieces in an appen-
dix, they were mingled- in their appropriate places, with the explan-
atory notes, illustrations, and additions with which the work was
enriched. The first selection, a " Hymn for Advent," was intro-
duced by this highly complimentary note : " The lines which follow
obituary notice, in some of the papers, I was sorry to see the matter alluded to
in any way, and especially in such unhappy phraseology. It would seem to a
stranger as if the communion was administered to her as a sort of sacramental
test or oath, whereas it was on a separate occasion, and some time previous. I
should deprecate any revival of the public agitation with regard to her, and
hope her ashes will be allowed to rest in quiet. She evinced great sweetness
and purity of character during her whole sickness, and her last hovirs were
very edifjing. Her departme was easy and full of peace. I attended her
funeral at East Cambridge, on Friday."
144 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1834.
are from the pen of the beloved friend to whom this volume is
inscribed. Its pages will afford other evidence of the justice with
which his name has been associated with the honored name of
Keble, as «a kindred spirit.' Were he aware of the designed
association, liis gentle and retiring nature would, I know, forbid it.
But one who, for nine years, was with him almost daily, and shared
his secret thoughts, must claim to know him better than he knows
himself; and he does not fear that Keble will not welcome the
companionship." The other selections were " Christmas Eve,"
"Martyrdom of Stephen," " Epiphany," "De Profundis," "Clouds,"
and " The Ordinal." After the work had passed through the press,
he writes, " Bishop Doane's edition of Keble is printed, but not
published. I fear almost to see it. My own rhymes will appear
very slim, I fear, in the contrast." In a letter of a later date, he
says, " I have some copies of Keble's ' Christian Year,' presenta-
tion gifts from the editor. Your son's name occurs in it more fre-
quently than his modesty can approve." Writing, at the same time,
to his friend. Rev. Dr. Strong, of Greenfield, Mass., he says, " My
gratification at the republication of Keble would have been as entire
and unmingled as yours, were my own name less conspicuously
connected with it, and none of my rhymes brought into so disad-
vantageous contrast. I am still so unsophisticated and unpractised
in the arts of able authors, that I must blush at such undeserved
praise. Of the productions of the editor's own pen, it gives me
delight to join in the most unqualified commendation."
The following pieces are drawn from various sources. They
were probably written the present year, but in some few cases are
without date. The subjoined impromptu was doubtless called forth
by an excursion which he made to Nahant, August 11 ; and those
who have ever visited that famous summer resort >\ill at once
adtnowledge the perfect correctness of the sketch.
Rocks, sands, and seas,
What charms hast thou but these,
O desolate Nahant !
Rocks, sands, and seas.
Twelve grotesque cottages,
And six storm-beaten trees.
Struck all aslant !
But this is but an episode among more grave and solemn strains.
The following are transcribed in the order in which they are found
in his own manuscript collections.
1834.1 CHRIST CHUIICII. 145
FOX'S BOOK OF MARTYRS.*
T well remember, from my earliest age,
How, with a yearning heart, I loved to look,
Old Chronicler, upon thy pictured page.
That lent a glory to thy Martyrs' Book ;
And as I saw the patient sufferers there.
Like the three children in the furnace flame,
Without a smell of fire, unsinged their hair,
From year to year unaltered and the same,
I thought that even martyrdom was light.
And counted them as happy who endured
A fire no fiercer than it seemed to sight.
Of God's good will eternally secured !
Thus do we look on sufferings yet untried,
Wliich man can only bear, when Heaven is on his side !
Princes shall come from Egypt, and
The path of life be trod
By myriads, when the Morian's land
Shall stretch her hand to God ;
Then Gush, and Ophir, and the sea
No idle gifts shall bring.
But soul and body both shall be
Their grateful offering.
The Ethiop may not change his skin,
Nor leopard change his spot ;
But God can work a change within,
Though man observeth not.
A holier dawn shall chase the night,
And darkness pass away.
And these shall also " walk in white,'
In Heaven's eternal day.
See Fuller's Mixed Contemplations, xxi. p. 92.
146 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CEOSWELL. [1834.
Let the infant soldier now
With the hallowed cross be signed ;
Bind the frontlet on his brow
Time and death cannot unbind !
Words of earnest faith and prayer,
Drops of consecrated dew,
They can work a wonder there
Earth's enchantments never knew.
Happy mother ! sealed and blessed,
To your arms your treasure take,
With the Savior's mark impressed,
Nurse it for the Savior's sake.
So the holy work begin.
Ever doing, never done,
Till, redeemed from all our sin,
Heaven's eternal crown be won.
SUNDAY SCHOOL HYMN.
The sparrow finds a home,
The little bird a nest ;
Deep in thy dwellings, Lord, they come.
And fold their wings to rest.
And shall ive be afraid
Our little ones to bring
Within thine ancient altar's shade,
And underneath thy wing !
There, guard them as thine eye,
There, keep them without spot,
That when the Spoiler passeth by.
Destruction touch them not.
There, nerve their souls with might,
There, nurse them with thy love.
There, plume them for their final flight
To blessedness above.
* The reader should be apprised that this Hymn is not strictly original iu
thought and sentiment, though the versification is all his own. It may be
considered as rather a paraphrase of two stanzas of Keble's "Holy Baptism."
1834.] CHRIST CHURCH. 147
Fair child ! thou fillest mine eye M'ith tears,
For thou carriest back my mind
To the sinless days which the flight of years
Has left so far behind :
And I search my shrinking self to know
How the spirit, so darkened now,
Can be purged of its manhood's guilt and woe,
And be pure once more as thou.
Again, thou carriest on my thought
To the vision of things before,
When the last great battle with sin is fought,
And the struggle of death is o'er ;
For in vain our Heaven we hope to see,
And our Savior undefiled,
Till we learn his lesson of such as thee.
And become like a little child !
Among the remaining- incidents of this year, there are few that
require any full or special notice. He made an excursion home-
wards, leaving Boston August 24, and, after stopping for two or three
days at Brooklyn and Norwich, arrived at New Haven on the 28th.
He expected to liave met his brother Sherman, that they might
enjoy their visit together ; but in this lie was disappointed, for
Sherman did not arrive until the moment when he was taking his
seat for his return to Boston, on tlie 5th of September. He arrived
at Boston on the 6th, and on the following day, Sunday, he says,
"I officiated twice, besides administering tlie communion, and
baptizing four children, and do not feel any uncommon degree of
lassitude." Speaking incidentally of the accommodation stages, in
contrast with those of tlie steamboat line, he remarks, " I have
never, I am sure, so fully realized the force of what moralists have
written ogainst the stage, and its dangerous and corrupting influences,
as I did when dragging through the mud at three miles per hour,
when the rain made the night as dark as Egypt, and the proprietors
could not afford lights, crowded in with nine passengers, some of
whom would infect a whole community, and all curtained down, to
make them the more redolent. O, it has a dreadful effect upon the
temper." He proceeds to speak of a subject in which lie felt deeply
interested : " They have set to work to repair the old church in real
earnest. The steeple is invested with scaflfolding, and the cellar of
the new vestry almost excavated. The business is going on with
148 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1834.
great spirit in both parts, and will soon be completed. Think of
our weathercock weighing one hundred and sixteen pounds, and
more than six feet long — not so light a matter as weathercocks
generally are supposed to be ! " On the 12th he notes in his diary,
" Wrote something to put in the hall of the steeple, arranged in the
shape of a cross." Of this composition no copy can be found.
In his diary of November 3, and his letter of the same date, he
speaks of the sickness of his friend Doane, and of his expectation
of an immediate summons to attend him ; and the information
received the following day induced him to proceed without delay.
He left Boston for Burlington by way of Providence ; and his next
letter is dated at Burlington, November 7, and gives a particular
account of the severe attack by which the bishop's strength was
prostrated. He was now, however, convalescent, with every pros-
pect of a speedy and complete recovery. " To-day," he says,
" being, I believe, my thirtieth birthday, and a glorious day indeed
for the season, he has walked out with me, for the first time,
besides taking a ride of an hour in the carriage of one of his excel-
lent neighbors." Before he closes this letter, he adds, "Notwith-
standing the illness of the bishop, he managed to write me a tender
and atiectionate sonnet on my thirtieth birthday, in a little pres-
entatit>n volume of Coleridge's poetry." It is here transcribed, as
exceedingly creditable to both parties.
"PERENNIS ET FRAGRANS."
William, my brother and my bosom friend !
For thrice ten years the sun, this blessed day,
Has lighted thee along hfe's checkered way,
Serene and placid towards thy journey's end.
One third the distance we have trod together,
Hand grasping hand, and heart enclosed in heart,
Each of the other's life, breath, being, part,
Breasting as one time's rough and rugged weather.
Poet and Priest, as in thy face I look.
So full of thought, so tranquil, so benign,
With pride of soul to hail thee friend of mine,
I greet thee with the legend of this book : —
" Fragrant and lasting " be thy memory here,
And then a fadeless crown through heaven's immortal year !
G. W. D.
He was compelled, while on this mission of love and sympathy,
to pass by New Haven, and return to his duties. After apologizing
1834.] CHllIST CHCJKCII. 149
for this omission, he details some interesting' particulars toiicliing
his domestic and parocliial rehitions, and thus closes a letter of
November 23: " My feet have stood in the courts of the Lord's
house thrice this day, and thrice have I opened my mouth hetween
the porch and the altar, none having ministered for me in tlie order
of my course. I am fresh, as if I had had nothing to do." On
the week following he details the same amount of services ; and
then, again, on the 9th of Decemher, he writes, " I had rather a