upon himself some portion of the public duties of the parish, be-
side the labor of an extensive correspondence. Writing to his
father on the Feast of the Epiphany, he thus alludes to a practice
which he had followed for several years, and which he continued to
the close of his life : " The last week has been one of unusually
solemn interest. New Year's day has ceased, with me, to be a day
* O Domine Deus,
Speravi in Te !
care mi Jesu,
Nunc libera me !
In dura catena,
In misera poena,
[Ab pectore imof] desidero Te !
Ut liberas me !
t Interpolated to adapt it to the air of the Coronach.
236 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1840.
of much cheer. I see but few visitors, and it brings fewer gifts.
The arrangement of all my letters for the previous twelve months
calls up a review of all the incidents of that period, in such bright
or dark array as can hardly fail for the time to make us sadder,
if not wiser. Every revohition of the sort brings so many in-
creasing warnings of instability, in my own personal experience, as
well as my daily observation, that I should be hardened indeed if
I could steel myself against the impression. I rather seek to yield
to it, and to make it most profitable, by God's grace, for the future.
I said that I had but few gifts on New Year's day. I had,
in fact, but one ; but that one so elegant as rather to humiliate than
to gratify me. It was the most elegant writing desk, inlaid with
brass, that I have ever seen, with all the apparatus to correspond.
Beautiful, exceedingly ! It came anonymously, but I have no
misgivings as to the donor. . . . And now, what shall I say
more — for my time is up — but what you already know, but which
you will not be tired of hearing repeated for the thousandth time,
that you all live in my memory and love ; that I long greatly to see
you ; and that I hope this year will advance each and every one of
us, through Christ, on our road towards heaven. Amen."
Previous to his writing again, .January 12, he had been prostrated,
by an increase of his sickness, for three or four days ; but on Sun-
day, the Rev. Dr. Boyle, whom he styles his " dear and valued old
friend," and of whom he always spoke in terms of great veneration
and affection, " came to his relief." He adds, " For my own
part, I certainly say, that it is well to be sick. We should other-
wise forget our helplessness, and our dependence on God, not only,
but on man also. As soon as I am able to travel, I shall set out on
my way towards you."
Two days later, he speaks of some improvement in his health,
and of his beginning to indulge his appetite, adding, " My dear
friend, Mrs. Sumnek, has sent me a copy of Burgess's Version of
the Psalms, just in time to complete my list of luxuries ; so that,
while the body is repairing its strength out of the good things
which begin to pour in, I can solace my soul, and expel its evil pas-
sions, by striking a few chords from tlie harp of David. Brother
B. is a true minstrel, and has elicited some graceful strains ; but
his version will not supersede any which are in use in the Church.
I was pleased to see that he has adopted the same reading which I
gave in my translation of the cxxxiii. Psalm, and which makes it
one of the choicest gems in David's coronet."
It may not be amiss to mention, in this connection, that he once
conceived the idea of throwing all, or a principal part, of the
Psalms of David into easy versification ; but he was anticipated
in this intention by Mr. Burgess, to whose work he often alludes in
his letters, as in the foregoing extract, in flattering terms. But
1840] CHRIST CIIT^IICII. 237
tliouj"!! he relinquished his general plan, he left among his niiscelhi-
neous papers a few specimens, dated St. Peter's Parsonage, Au-
burn, 1840 ; and a copy of his version of the first Psahn was rotn-
municated to a confidential friend, with this remark: " It was made
long since. I was always ashamed of it, and never more so than
after reading the version of Burgess." *
Happy the man who never ■walks
Where impious men repair,
Nor lingers in the sinner's way,
Nor takes the scoffer's chair.
But in Jehovah's ordinance
He finds a pure delight ;
Enriching thus the orisons
Of every day and night.
He like a fruitful tree shall be,
Set by the water's brim ;
His leaf shall never fade, and all
Is prosperous with him.
Not so the impious ones — like chaff
Swept by the wind away,
They with the righteous shall not stand
Upon the judgment day.
They hold no place amid the just,
Whose way Jehovah knows ;
And every path of godless men
Shall in perdition close.
Behold, how good it is.
How beautiful to see.
When brethren together dwell
In perfect unity.
* The Rev. George Burgess was rector of Christ Chiirch, Hartford, when
nis version was written. — He is now Bishop of Maine.
238 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. :i840.
Like perfume on the head,
Diffusing fragrance round
The high priest's beard, and o'er the robes
Whose fringes sweep the ground.
Like Herman's dews which melt
Fair Zion's summits o'er ;
For there Jehovah's blessing rests,
And life forevermore.
O, praise Jehovah, ye
Who his true servants be,
Jehovah praise !
Ye who to stand delight,
And worship in his sight,
Nor leave his courts by night,
Jehovah praise !
With hands uplifted high,
His oracle draw nigh;
Jehovah praise !
Till he with holiness
His tribes from Zion bless,
And heaven and earth confess
By the waters of Babel we sat down and wept,
As we called our dear Zion to mind ;
And our harps that in joy we so often had swept
Now sighed on the trees to the wind.
Then they that had carried us captive away,
In mockery, challenged a song.
And wringing out mirth from our sadness, would say,
" Sing the strains that to Zion belong."
O, how shall we sing the ineffable song
In a godless and barbarous land ?
If the minstrels of Salem could do her such wrong.
Be palsied each cunning right hand.
1840.] CimiST CHURCH.
Let my tongfue to the roof of my mouth ever cling,
If aught else should its praises employ,
Or if Salem's high glories it choose not to sing,
Above all terrestrial joy.
Remember the children of Edom, O Lord,
How they cried, in Jerusalem's woe,
Her ramparts and battlements raze with the sword,
Her temples and towers overthrow.
O, daughter of Babel ! thy ruin makes haste ;
And blessed be he who devours
Thy children with famine and misery waste,
As thou, in thy rapine, served ours.
" Hail ye the Lord I "
Hail him in his sanctitude !
Hail him in his highest height !
Hail him for his deeds of good !
Hail him for his matchless might !
Hail him in the trumpet's strain !
Hail him with the lyre and lute !
Hail him with the timbrel train !
Hail him with the strings and flute !
Hail him with the cymbal's ring !
Hail him with their loudest chord !
Hail him, every breathing thing !
Hail, all hail, the sovereign Lord !
On Sunday, the 26th, he was able to attend church, and bear
some part in the services ; and on the following day he writes, " It
was truly delightful to get to the house of God once more, after the
longest confinement to the house which I have had since entering
upon my ministerial duties, eleven years since. My text was, 'It
is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy
statutes ; ' and I believe that I can enter in some measure into the
spirit and sentiment of the Psalmist. May God preserve me from
that worst of all afflictions, an affliction lost ! "
After a few days of unavoidable delay, he was enabled, on the
12th of February, to start on his anticipated journey homeward. He
•240 MEMOIR OF ^^^LLIAM CROSA\^LL. [1840.
was absent from his parish until the 29th, including two Sundays,
the first of which was spent with his friends at Hartford, and the
other in New Haven, and on each of which he preached twice, be-
sides aiding in the other services. His visit was a source of great
mutual enjoyment to himself and his friends. His health appeared
to be perfectly restored ; and it will be seen, that on his return, he
was again ready to enter, with his usual zeal and activity, upon his
duties. Writing on Monday, March 9, he says, " On Wednesday,
(Ash Wednesday,) I was engaged in three services, appropriate to
the season ; one of them at Trinity, it being my turn to open tlie
Price Lectures. . . . Yesterday, I had three services, Sunday
school, and two baptisms, at separate times. Our congregations
are large, and much seriousness prevails." He proceeds here to
speak confidentially of some circumstances which evidently dis-
turbed his feelings, and which, doubtless, had much influence in
leading to the eventual change in his pastoral relations : " During
my absence, some over-kind friends were disposed to sow the seeds
of disaffection, and I returned just in time to tread them out. An
other week might have been too late. All is right now. Still this
single symptom makes some change in my views of duty ; and if
Auburn should be once more vacant, and fairly presented, I should
perhaps never be more disposed to remove to that ' loveliest village
of the plain.' Very probably, however, between this and Easter, I
shall find abundant cause to be satisfied to remain as I am. Other-
wise, I shall be free to entertain proposals for transferring my rela-
tions elsewhere." His aUusion to Auburn was very natural. Dur-
ing a former vacancy in that parish, his personal friends had en-
deavored to obtain his consent to entertain proposals for a removal.
This, however, was declined at the time, and the place was other-
It is curious to learn, from this letter, what were his first impres-
sions with regard to that great discovery, the daguerreotype,
which was then considered as among the deepest of mysteries, but
which has since become so common and familiar, that it ceases to
excite the slightest wonder : " I have found time, in the midst of my
engagements, to look at the daguerreotype, and to share in the
'■first view ' given by the artist to ' some of the eminent men and
distinguished artists of the city.' In their way, the drawings are
surpassingly fine ; and though on a smaller scale than I expected,
nothing can exceed the sharpness and distinctness with which the
minutest parts of the landscape are finished. The wonderfiil ap-
plication of chemical agencies to produce, in a moment, what would
cost creative genius months of labor to accomplish with less accu
racy, makes an epoch in the history of art. The interiors, and
copies of busts, statuary, and engraving, as they appear about a
1840.1 CHRIST CHURCH. 241
room, are the most satisfactory, if possible, tliough the diftercnt
views of Paris are said to be the very life itself. . . . I do
not despair of ' royal roads ' for all purposes under heaven. I fear
we shall never find any easier may to heaven, or any new facilities
for working out our salvation."
On the 20th of March, he addressed a private letter to his father,
freely opening his heart on the subject, at which he had hitherto
hinted only in vague and indefinite terms. The time had come
when he could no longer hesitate as to the expediency and propriety
of entering J^ito a matrimonial engagement. His partialities and
movements were doubtless closely watched and scrutinized by some
who thought they discovered a disposition on his part to make this
change in his domestic relations ; and he had no difficulty in tracing
to their intermeddling the slight disaffection which he had already
experienced. It seemed to him as if he could almost hear the half-
stifled mutterings, Why should he marry, and thus increase his own
expenses, and the burdens of the parish 1 Or, if matrimony were
expedient, why not take counsel of some one more capable than
himself of deciding who, among his acquauitances, would be most
suitable for a rector's wife? Whether he was right in these con-
jectures, or not, they doubtless had their influence, perhaps an undue
influence, on his feelings.
On the 10th of April, he writes as follows: "My position in
the parish is stronger than ever. But my recent experience con-
vinces me that, like all my predecessors, I have some sjjirits to deal
with that are not to be depended on. I should be, therefore, sorry
to have any opening closed against me, from any supposed reluctance
on my part to entertain it favorably. Let your correspondent, there-
fore, be apprized tliat I am not given to change, that I have never
sought any, but that I feel at times a responsibility to God and the
Church for larger measures of usefulness than I have even any
prospect of being able to expect here ; and that I should be disposed
to listen, with a very partial ear, to any distinct overture from that
pleasant parish [Auburn] whenever it is vacant. Till then, of course,
nothing can with propriety be said. I respect the present incum-
bent, and regret tliat his health is no better."
On the following day, he found it necessary to seek his father's
counsel, in consequence of a proposal received from Bishop De
Lancey, of Western New York. It appears that in a recent letter
written to the bishop, in behalf of a young brother, who was about
to visit his diocese, he remarked at the close, that he did not know
how soon he might have occasion to icrite on his own account. On
this hint, the bishop wrote as follows: "Our friend, Re> Mr.
Hackley, at Auburn, thinks of leaving his church, for the more
242 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1840.
congenial occupation of teaching a school. I should be rejoiced to
see you in his place at Auburn. Would you listen to proposals ?
Can you visit the place and look at it ? The salary is eight hun-
dred dollars, with a parsonage. I write all this on the hint at the
close of your letter. Mr. Hackley will doubtless write to you,
should he resign ; and I trust you will view the case favorably."
He writes to his father, " I am disposed to reply to this direct prop-
osition, as directly and plainly, that there was a time when I did
not think to leave here for life ; but that, for reasons of which it is
not necessary to speak, I am free to say, that though •! would not
appear before the people of Auburn as a candidate, yet I would
not decline a suitable invitation, without first visiting the parish, and
giving a mutual opportunity to ascertain how we were suited to each
other. I shall wait to hear from you before replying, and take your
Having received a note of approval from his father, he subse-
quently writes, " I have just written to Bishop De Lancey, as I
proposed to do. It costs me some effort to come to the conclusion ;
for my heart cleaves here, however ray judgment points elsewhere.
The consideration of being within the reach of his ' friendly crook,'
as I have told him, operates powerfully with me. The journey, I
have no doubt, will be a pleasant and profitable one, whatever the
result may be."
These incipient movements are thus particularly recorded, that no
room may be left for misapprehension or misrepresentation. It is
proper in this, as in all other cases, that he should tell his own story ;
leaving others to draw, from his own avowals, such proofs as they may
warrant of his ingenuousness and disinterestedness, and of his
earnest desire to avoid all just occasion of offence.
Writing on Tuesday in Easter week, after speaking of the weather
on Easter day, as being "in fine harmony with the services," he
adds, " Every body seemed to enjoy them, and Easter reigned un-
disputed the Queen of Festivals. With me, it of course mingled
much with other feelings, subduing and softening them, that it was
perhaps the last Easter which I should spend here. I have said
nothing to any one here, except my warden, Mr. Farley, of what
I expect from Auburn, nor shall I, until I receive a formal invitation.
It will take the parish very much by surprise ; and will, to the best
part, if not the whole, be a source of unaffected sorrow. Their
action will probably determine the question." Meanwhile he sought
the counsel of many of his friends and brethren abroad, and patiently
waited the result.
On another important point he now speaks undisguisedly : " It
will be distinctly understood, as soon as I make any declarations on
the subject, that I do not go to Auburn, or any where else, as an
1840.] CHRIST CHURCH. 243
These preliminaries prepare the way, for placinjj^ on record the
official transactions connected with his removal from the i)arish.
The following communication was received on *he 2d of May : —
Auburn, .^pril 28, 1840.
The Rev. William Cro swell.
Dear Sir: In commnnicating to you the enclosed resolutions of our
vestry, adopted under the advice of^ur bishop, it gives us additional pleas-
ure to assure you, that your call to this parish is made with the unanimous
concurrence of all the members, those absent as well as present at the
meeting, and in conformity to the wish of the parish whom we represent.
We would, for that and other reasons, earnestly urge your acceptance of it,
believing that it will be most satisfactorily settling the question, oftentimes
delicate and agitating to parishes, which has a second time arisen in our par-
ish since the ever-lamented death of Rev. Mr. Lucas, our former rector.
At the same time, we beg leave to state to you, that it is very desirable
that your settlement over us should be with a knowledge on your part of the
parish and people committed to your charge, so that we may count, on both
sides, upon permanency in the arrangements, such, as we trust, a mutual ac-
quaintance will lead to. We therefore, by direction of the vestry, invite you
to visit us at your earliest convenience, and to spend such time as will enable
you to act with full personal knowledge, believing, as we are led to flatter
ourselves, that a mutual acquaintance will add inducements to your accept-
ance of our call.
The Rev. Mr. Hackley will consent to continue with us until about the
1st of August, if your convenience would thereby be promoted ; and in ref-
erence to his continuance, it is desirable to hear from you, or, if practicable,
to see you here at an early day. At the time of his resignation, he supposed
it incumbent upon him to repair to his new engagements by the first of May ;
but it is now ascertained that he can remain until the later period. Still, it
is important to ascertain early whether he should make his calculations to
remain or not.
Hoping, in the providence of God, that you may at an early day be settled
among us as our rector, pleasantly and permanently.
We are, sir, with respect and esteem,
Your friends and obedient servants,
G. B. THROOP, >
S. H. GOODWIN, V Com.
A. GRIDLEY, )
The following were the enclosed resolutions : —
At a meeeting of the vestry of St. Peter's Church, in Auburn, held at the
office of J. H. BosTwicK, Esq., the 27th day of April, 1840: —
Present, Rev. C. W. Hackley, President; Hon. H. Burt, Senior Warden;
Hon. G. B. Throop, William Swain, H. Bostwick, S. H. Goodwin, A.
F. Carpenter, and A. Gridley, Vestrymen.
On motion of G. B. Throop, Esq., Resolved unanimously, That the Rev.
William Croswell, of Boston, be, and is hereby invited to become the
Rector of St. Peter's Church, in Auburn.
Also, on motion of H. Burt, Resolved, That G. B. Throop, Stephen A.
Goodwin, and A. Gridley, be a committee to communicate the above to
the Rev. Mr. Croswell, and to make such further communications as they
may deem proper and in accordance with the expressed views and wishes of
A true extract from the minutes,
Clerk of the Vestry of St. Peter's Church, Auburn, N. Y.
244 MEMOIR OF WILLLVM CROSWELL. 
Oi). the 4th of May, writing to his father, he mentions the re-
ceipt of the foregoing communication, and states that he had shown
it to one or two fri*^ .ds besides the wardens, and that they all con-
curred with him in the o]Mnion, that it was best to communicate it
through the wardens, to the proprietors, in such a way as to ascertain
the real state of their feelings. He accordingly wrote the letter, of
which the following is a copy : — .
Boston, May 4, 1840.
Messrs. Robert Farley and Frederick H. Stimpson, Wardens of Christ
My Dear Friends : On Saturday last, I received the enclosed invitation
to the rectorship of St. Peter's Church, Auburn, in the Western Diocese of
New York ; and before taking any action upon it, I lose no time in bringing
it to your notice, and through you to that of the proprietors, this day con-
vened. My reasons are these.
It is now eleven years since I came to this church, while the " dew of
youth " was still upon me, and entered upon my duties with all the ardor of
a first love. From that time to this, I have never had any other idea than
that of identifying myself with it for life ; and not only have sought no
change, but have declined several overtures from abroad, which, in the opin-
ion of disinterested friends, I should have consulted my usefulness and ad-
vantage by accepting. Recognizing distinctly the leadings of Providence
which brought me hither, here I purposed steadfastly and patientlj'' to abide,
in the spirit of the Institution office, feeding the portion of the flock of
Christ intrusted to me, until I should be called to give an account of my
stewardship to the Chief Bishop and Sovereign Judge of all hereafter. My
heart and affections still cling fondly here, and the very vicissitudes of death
and time, which have removed so many from among us, whose countenance
was my chief earthly encouragement, have given an endearing consecration
to the scene of my past labors. No clergyman can be more sensible of his
insufficiency for the arduous duties of the ministry, and of his own manifold
imperfections ; but I still enjoy the consciousness that the spiritual welfare
of the parish, and the obligation of fidelity to souls, have ever been up-
permost in my mind, and that it has been my heart's desire to spend and be
spent in their service.
I entertain a lively and grateful sense of the thousand proofs of kindness
and esteem received from my parishioners, individually and collectively,
and which have led me to suppose that I was secure of their continued aflfec-
tions. In this respect, however, from the painful information of which you
were, a few weeks since, the unwilling organs, I am apprehensive that I may
have been mistaken ; that a state of feeling unknown to me may exist, which
threatens the permanency of my relations, and may make the dissolution of
the pastoral connection expedient and desirable. Should this be the case, I
trust the occasion will not be allowed to pass without a distinct intimation
of it, in order that I may be able to act in the premises with a full under-
standing of their wishes and feehngs.
To whatever conclusion the proprietors may come, 1 trust it will be in that
spirit of mutual kindness and good will which has always governed our rela-
tions to each other, and a title to which I trust never to forfeit. May the
great Head of the Church so guide and govern them in their delibera-
tions, as may best promote the permanent prosperity, harmony, and happiness
of this home of our common afiections.
With sincerest esteem, your friend and pastor,
This letter was presented to the proprietors at the close of their
1840.] CHRIST CHURCH. 245
anmml meeting', an<3, as might have heen expected, not only took
tliem by surprise, but produced some little agitation. Its tone was
calculated to disarm hostility, and it was received by a principal
portion of the meeting in a kind and conciliatory spirit ; but tiiere
were a few present who betrayed strong symptoms of disatiection.
" They agreed, however," he adds in the letter to his father, " not
to act precipitately, and will meet again on Thursday evening, (7th.)
Meantime, all doubt has passed from my mind as to the expedien-
cy of resigning ; and the only question remaining to be settled is,
as to the time and manner. On this point I am not yet prepared
to decide ; but shall take judicious advice, and proceed witli all the
calmness I can command. I foresee that the final step will cause
great excitement in the parish and town, for my friends are numer-
ous and influential ; but I am determined, by the grace of God, not
to be excited myself, nor be responsible for excitement in others. I