to visit the parish on the Sunday before Easter. ... St. Peter's
is to be opened for the morning service and sermon, every Wednes-
day and Friday during Lent. The people appear to be quite ])leased
with this arrangement, and I hope will derive much benefit from it."
To this he adds a note : " I have been preparing myself for the
great fast, by passing a day of abstinence. I am just emerging from
headache, and can barely see to direct my pen. The spirit is will-
ing, but the flesh is weak."
On the ensuing day, however. Shrove Tuesday, he again resumes
the pen, and writes to his excellent friends and correspondents. Misses
Clark and Harris, in a strain as creditable to his own feelings as
it must have been grateful to theirs : " 1 was in dreamland a few
nights ago. I was, as usual in my visions, arranging things accord-
1841.] ST. TETER'S, AITBURN. 273
ing to the order of my course at Christ Church, about the time of
the morning sacrifice. The sun was shining brightly. A carriage
drove up, and Helen's father [the late Thomas Clark, Esq., senior
warden of the church] stepped out, in his green and serene old age,
and shook me cordially by the hand. He said he must go a little
farther, but would shortly return. He was much animated, and
desired to have the hymn, commencing ' This is the day the Lord hath
made,' introduced into the service. I awoke, and, behold it was a
dream ! I shall never, however, read that hymn without recalling
it. The present season, indeed, always brings him most vividly to
my mind. I shall never forget the first Ash Wednesday service in
Boston. It was a warm and sunny day, and we opened the win-
dows and door of the old vestry ; and the venerable warden went
down into the little yard, and seemed delighted with the green and
springing grass, as ' lessons sweet of spring returning.' I have
observed, on succeeding years, that Lent has generally opened in
the same way. ... I shall be disappointed if Ash Wednesday
does not correspond with all past experience. At all events, it will
bring up the past; and however thin St. Peter's may be to other
eyes, I shall be in the midst of a crowd of invisible worshippers.
May it be the beginning of a season, like the joy of grief, sad yet
pleasant to the soul â€” a season of yet more salutary discipline than
ever." Before he closes, he speaks of having received two letters
from his dear friend Couthouy, the last as late as October, over-
flowing with love and tenderness, " but little dreaming," he says, " of
our late severance."
In a letter to his father, March 3, he copies, with much gratifica-
tion, the Rev. Dr. Hook's invitation to Bishop Doane to visit
England, for the purpose of preaching at the consecration of the
Queen's new Chapel, Ripon ; and after alluding to other matters
of interest, he adds, " Every thing proceeds smoothly and delight-
fully. We have services at the rate of some four or five per week,
including Sunday, and my health never was better. There will be
a respectable body of candidates for confirmation, including men
and women. I endeavor to preach faithfully, and to commend my-
self to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
March 25, he writes that a clerical friend in New York had
informed him that the parish of Yonkers, a few miles from New
York, one of the best of country parishes, having a parsonage house
and glebe, and offering a liberal salary, would be vacant in the
ensuing May, and proposing, if he desired it, to interest himself in
his behalf. On this proposal he remarks, " I like every thing in
this situation but the name ; and if the suggestion had been made a
twelvemonth since, I should have been tempted to accept, by reason
of its vicinity to all our friends in New York, and so on eastward,
^t present, I do not think it would be quite fair to entertain it.
274 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROS^VELL. [1841.
There could not be a kinder and more unanimous people than that
to which it has been my privilege to minister ; nor can I positively
say that the cUmate does not suit me, until I have tried the full
circle of the months."
April 7, he speaks of the confirmation held on the day previous
in terms of great satisfaction. " The bishop's visit," he says, " was
short, but we lived a great while in a little time." Of the bishop's
manner of performing his sacred functions, his description is highly
eulogistic, but entirely just, as well as discriminating. His sketch is
the picture of a model prelate.
On Easter Tuesday he writes, " We had daily service and sermon
in Passion Week, two on Good Friday, and three on Easter.
The bishop's visit was all that we could have desired, and
the happiest effects have followed. All my candidates for confirma-
tion (seventeen) came to the communion, and so did several others,
and the largest attendance, it was remarked to me, that had ever
been observed before."
April 26, he says, " I have sent, at cousin's request, a few lines,
written in the chamber where Bishop Hobart died, to the Northern
Light " â€” a new literary work published ip Albany. These lines
are copied here from a manuscript found among his private
letters : â€”
â– WBITTEN IN THE CHAMBER WHERE BISHOP HOBART DEED, ON THE 12TH OP
Our house, whereon dark clouds have lowered,
Is once more desolate,
And hushed the solemn chamber where
The good man met his fate.
Pass lightly up the echoing stairs,
And look in silence round.
And take tliy shoes from off thy feet,
For this is holy ground.
Here stood, erewhile, his dying couch,
Against this crimsoned wall.
Where, quivering tlirough the locust leaves,
The setting sunbeams fall.
Here last he saw yon glorious orb,
Like his, descending low,
And through the casement pour, as now,
That rich, autumnal glow.
] ST. PETER'S, AUBURN. 275
But dwell not on the painful scene,
Nor, rapt in vision, muse.
Till in the sadness of the past
The present good we lose.
No sun could make more golden set,
Nor leave a track more bright,
Than his, whose radiant memory still
Fills all our courts with light.
Look earthward forth, and see, fast by
The oracle of God,
And mark the well-worn churchyard path,
The last his footsteps trod.
Pass through the Gothic porch, and view
The chancel's choicest trust,
Where " all but speaks," in lifelike grace,
His monumental bust.
The pilgrim at lona's shrine
Forgets his journey's toil,
As faith rekindles in his breast
On that inspiring soil ;
And those who trace in Heber's steps
Camatic wood and wave,
A portion of his spirit seek
By their apostle's grave.
And here our prophet's sons shall oft
Their father's ear recall.
And here, on each successor's head,
His reverend mantle fall.
" Here may they hope to fill the breach,
Like him the plague to stay.
While in his thrilling tones they preach.
And with his fervor pray."
Thus, Auburn, shall thy hallowed haunts
Be sought from age to age.
And hither sons of holy Church
Make pious pilgrimage.
And though some bitter memories
Must dash the past with pain.
Sweet village, thou shalt ever be
" The loveliest of the plain ! "
Peteb's Parsonage, Auburn, September 12, 1840.
276 AfEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [184L
In a letter of May 5, in which he announces, amonoj other things,
his intention of making the earhest arrangements in his power for a
visit with his wife to his eastern friends, he throws in the following :
"I rode twenty miles yesterday, to marry one of my parishioners,
and returned with the wedding party, about nine last evening. It
was the hardest day's work that I have accomplished in many years.
We all thought the roads the roughest possible, except the happy
bridegroom, who seemed to have little to do with what was of the
earth. We passed through scenery which would have made a glori-
ous landscape in the prime of summer ; but it is the greater aggra-
vation to look at such scenes prematurely as they are. Our route
carried us by two of the ' seven small lakes ' that diversify this re-
gion, and which are, in various ways, very picturesque. I have now
been in sight of all of them, except Canandaigua and Crooked
Lake, which I hope also some day to look upon."
The fondly anticipated journey was commenced on the 17th of
May ; and passing through, and calling on their friends in Utica,
Albany, and New York, they arrived at New Haven on the 20th.
Here they remained, busily and pleasantly employed in visiting, until
the 26th, when they again pursued their journey, and taking Hart-
ford and Springfield on their way, arrived at Boston on the 27th.
He next writes to his father, May 29, from an inn in Cambridge,
while waiting for the omnibus to take him to Boston. This letter
is chiefly taken up with a rapid sketch of their journey, after leav-
ing New Haven, and with their reception at Boston, which appears
to have been peculiarly gratifying. " To-morrow," he says, " I
preach at the navy yard in the morning, for brother Searle, and
in the afternoon at Christ Church. On Trinity Sunday I shall pass
the whole day at Trinity Church." Among other things, he speaks
thus feelingly of meeting his esteemed correspondent, Mr. Couthouy :
" My old friend from the exploring expedition returned night before
last, and nothing could have compensated for the disappointment,
had we missed seeing each other."
In his letter of .Tune 7, he mentions, as a chief point of gratifi-
cation, his meeting Bishop Doane, and attending him on board the
packet, the Caledonia, in wliich he had taken his passage for Eng-
land, to fulfil his engagement with Dr. Hook ; and after relating
many pleasant incidents, he continues : " I was at Trinity all day
on Sunday, and at the Mission Church at evening, and have no
prospect of any real repose till I reach Auburn again, if indeed I
do then. We have both been excited and exhausted, as if on an
episcopal visitation. I am tempted, on this account, to delay our
return for another week, and the rather as we shall not probably
be this way again for a long time."
Next, dating from Auburn, Saturday evening, June 19, he says/.
1841.] ST. rETER'S, AT'EURN. 277
" I am at my round table once more, with scenes of verdure all
about me, and the fragrance of our churchyard locusts filling our
premises with the most grateful incense. We evacuated Boston
on Wednesday morning, the anniversary of the battle of Bunker
Hill, and had a parting salute of cannon and bell ringing." He
then proceeds to give the details of the journey, by the way of
Pittsfield, Hudson, Albany, Utica, &c. " We find," he says, " all
well, with the exception of one case of bitter bereavement, which
has thrown a worthy family into the greatest distress ; an only child,
a fine boy of four years old, the last of several, having been
snatched away by croup. The father is perfectly broken down, and
I feel that I ought to have been here. With my present feelings,
indeed, I shall be slow to leave my cure very soon again. Our
people have been very indulgent, and find no fault ; but they have
had service but one Sunday during my absence ; and such intervals
of suspension, of course, cannot but do any church harm.
Ill the mean time, while they have been starving, I have been feed-
ing strange flocks, and seeing all sorts of people excepting those
given especially to my charge, at a rate which I should have
thought very severe, had I been in my own place. Surely, I am
delighted to get back. Auburn never looked so like ' the loveliest
village of the plain.' ... I can conceive nothing more de-
lightful than a trip this way, for mother, or any of you, or a pleas-
anter resting-place than the parsonage now affords, for the end of
the journey. The sooner you take up your line of march, the
better for all parties."
This suggestion is further followed up in his next letter : " The
parsonage is all in readiness to receive you, and all that you may
bring in your train ; and it is looking delightfully all around us.
At the same time, I cannot deny, that the summer atmosphere is, in
general, peculiarly damp, and not exactly what I could wish. We
sleep, as it were, by enchantment, at all hours of the day, and
languor and lassitude beset us. I trust, however, you will not be
discouraged, though ' a pleasing land or drowsihead it is, and dreams
that wave before the half-shut eye.' You will find many friends
here, besides those that yoii have seen ; and your coming is looked
for with great expectation."
A letter of the 6th of July contains an amusing sketch of the
manner in which the anniversary of American independence had
just been celebrated ; but only one or two short passages are cited,
merely for the purpose of showing bow innocently a clergyman may
subject himself to unmerited censure, and how utterly impossible it
is for associated bigotry to change its character. " On the 4th,"
he says, " Auburn was any thing but a deserted village. All Cayuga
county was here. We had two celebrations. The regular ' old line,'
appeahng to the whole community, at which I officiated. â€¢ â€¢ â€¢
278 MEMOm OF WILLIAM CKOSWELL. [1841.
The tee-totallers collected all their strength for an opposition display,
and of course greatly outnumbered us. Indeed, it required no little
moral courage to appear in what was stigmatized as the ' drunkards' '
procession ; for so they honored our celebration ; and the Presby-
terian minister, who was to have been associated with me, backed
out, at the eleventh hour, having been frightened by some of his
fanatical parishioners." He does not close this letter without once
more urging forward the visit of his parents : " We are all delighted
at the prospect of seeing mother and yourself here so soon, and
trust that nothing will prevent you from etfecting our heai-ts' desire.
The visit will not only do you good, and us of the parsonage, but is
an event in which the parish manifest a very lively interest."
All the satisfaction here anticipated was probably derived from
the arrival of the visitors at the parsonage. They were received
with every demonstration of dutiful affection by their son and
daughter, who, with their friends and parishioners, were indefatigable
in their exertions to render the visit pleasant. The following day
being Sunday, the public services were rather unequally divided
between the rector and his father â€” the latter being persuaded to
occupy the pulpit both morning and afternoon, and to bear his part
in the other duties. The next two days were spent in interchanging
civilities with friends, and in visiting some of the prominent objects
of curiosity and interest in the village and vicinity. The state
prison with its seven hundred convicts, laboring in their several trades
and occupations, though a dismal spectacle, was not to be passed by.
But it was to the attractive scenery in the neighborhood that the
visitors' attention was most pleasantly called. Owasco Lake, with
its enchanting shores of hills and groves, and Skeneateles Lake,
with its tasteful village, were among the places which they found
time to visit. But in the midst of this brief enjoyment, the rector
was summoned away on Tuesday night to Rochester, on a most
unwelcome duty. He was appointed by the ecclesiastical authority
on a court of inquiry, to investigate certain charges of a scandalous
nature, which had been preferred against a presbyter of that place.
He was detained the whole of the next day in examining witnesses,
and the investigation resulted iii presenting the offender for trial.
It may be sufficient to say of the case, that it cost him a good deal
of anxiety and pain ; and although he indulged, at first, a charitable
hope that the accused might prove his innocence, this, unhappily
for the Church, and for the accused, was not the case. He has-
tened back to Auburn on Thursday night ; but only in time to take
leave of his parents and other friends, who had no alternative but
to take their departure in the n)idnight train.
In a famihar letter to his friend Couthouy, .Tuly 24, he urges
him to escape from the heated walls and stifled thoroughfares of the
city, and cool oft' in some such rural retreat as Auburn. He admits
1841.1 ST. PETER'S, AUBURN. 279
that, even there, it is warm enouj^h. But he says, " I can lead you
to cool and sunless groves hard by, which are a refreshment to think
of, hke the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. You will find
that I have some passion left yet for natural history, and will
accompany you on such exploring expeditions as will be for your
health and recreation. Several parties of our friends have been
already here, this summer, and find it very tolerable. My father
and mother were among the last. They spent a few delightful days
In turning again to his correspondence with liis father, it may be
well to note one of those melancholy and striking transitions from
light to shade, to which bitter experience had made him no stranger.
It was at a moment when they were enjoying a most welcome visit
from his wife's sister Elmira, that a gentleman arrived from Boston
with the startling intelligence that Mrs. Tarbell, their mother, had
been taken suddenly and dangerously sick, and that her case was
such as to require the immediate return of her daughter. This was
but a prelude to the painful result. Mrs. Tarbell died on the 7th
of August ; and he announces the event in a style which the
bereaved will well know how to appreciate. " My wife," he says,
"has borne up very wonderfully under the shock. She feels, of
course, as an affectionate cliild cannot but feel under such a bereave-
ment. She has been called to pass through many trials, within a
few short months; but what trial is there like the loss of a mother,
and such a mother especially as she now mourns 1 Mrs. Tarbell
was a most excellent and exemplary lady, in all the relations of life,
and her virtues endeared her to all who knew her, and will be cher-
ished, as their choicest legacy, by her family. . . . Elmira
arrived home about twenty-four hours before her death, and was
gratified with an opportunity of seeing her in the full possession of
all her powers, and in the calm and Christian contemplation of her
But this cloud of sorrow had scarcely crossed his path before he
was permitted again to enjoy a gleam of light from another branch
of his fimiily connections. He announces, in a letter of the IGtli of
August, the welcome intelHgence of the birth of his father's first
grandchild, a son of his brother Sherman Croswell, of Albany.
On this occasion, he falls into a train of pleasant and appropriate
reflections, citing the language of the Psalms and the classics, to
show the blessedness of those whose " children are like the olive
branches round about their table."
" Sons in our prime, no shaft so bright ;
Blest he who fills his quiver so ;
They unabashed may claim their right.
And in the gate defy their foe."
280 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1841..
After attending the convention of the western diocese of New
York, at Utica, he thus alludes, in a letter of September 3, to a
malady, from which he was seldom or never exempt for any con-
siderable length of time. As an apology for delaying his letter, he
says, " Two or tiiree of the days generally devoted to correspond-
ence have been given up, I find, to the headache, which still haunts
me, and follows as the night the day, or as effect grows out of
cause, after any overdoing or excitement." And he afterwards
adds, " I am sometimes disposed to ascribe my headaches to being
overworked, and in study I trust I have something to show for
myself" Such admissions are not often found in his letters, as they
were sure to call forth from his friends the most earnest expostula-
tions to desist from such labors as might be deemed excessive. But
from his private journal it appears that these attacks were not only
frequent, but in many cases extremely distressing.
Speaking incidentally at this time of the great amount of his
correspondence, he says, " This is the seventh long letter I have
sent off" within a few days, and I sometimes think, if I had made a
circular of them, I might have made one good letter, instead of
spoiling half a dozen." It is to be presumed, however, that his
correspondents formed a very different estimate of the value of their
respective letters, and that neither of the seven would have been
willing to merge an exclusive claim in the general property of a
circular. Among these letters, one is found addressed to his friend
CouTHOUY, who, it seems, had been waiting rather impatiently for
a response to one of his own communications. He acknowledges
the receipt of this letter in highly flattering terms, and begins by
remarking, "From what I learn from Cambridge, I should infer that
you had been ravenous for a reply. In such a case, I must deal
with you as a skilful leech does with a morbid appetite, which is
sometimes, you know, a shocking bad symptom â€” put you on severe
diet and short allowance, administering very little at a time, and that
not very often, keeping all high-seasoned and exciting dishes out of
your reach, and feeding you with a sort of water-gruel messes.
Ecce signum!" He proceeds in a similar vein; but the entire let-
ter is so full of local, private, and personal allusions and anecdotes,
that it cannot be spread on these pages.
Having concluded to attend the opening of the session of the
General Convention at New York, on the 6th proximo, he writes,
September 23, " As I attend the convention simply as a member of
that large and respectable branch known as the third house, my duty
to my constituents will not require me to be present during the
whole session. I only propose to leave here on Monday, stay just
long enough to set you well a-going, and return to my place on the
Saturday following." All this was accomplished, so far as the com-
mencement was concerned. He was present on the assembling of
1841.] ST. PETER'S, AUBURN. 381
the convention, and derived great enjoyment from the service. He
met great numbers of his friends, and had an opportunity to spend
much time with his father, who was among the delegates to the con-
vention. He left New York on Friday, taking abundant time, as
he supposed, to reach home on Saturday. But in consequence of
an unfortunate detention of the boat on the river, he did not arrive
in Auburn until Sunday, and at too late an hour for the morning
services. In the afternoon, however, he opened his church, and
though quite indisposed from a severe cold, resumed his duties. " I
found all well here," he says, in a letter to his father, " and my wife
had set the house in fine order. I realized more strongly than ever,
when I reached it, that there is no place like home." Writing
again, he says, " It would of course have given me great delight to
have extended my visit to New Haven ; but, as it was, I crowded
into the week rather more than it could hold, and more than was
good for me bodily. The wear and tear of travel, by night and
day, affect me more than some journeyers, and do not seem to
diminish by any experience I have had of it."
The following extract from a letter of November 16 is worth
recording, as foreshadowing a policy which the Church has since
found it expedient and necessary to adopt, in her efforts to extend the
gospel in the far west : " I am sorry to hear such melancholy tid-
ings of young Pkindle.* I have the impression that he had not
stamiua enough to hold out long under the weight of the ministry
any where. But our frontier service is truly full of peril to an east-
ern constitution especially ; and in the climate of Missouri, like
that of India, it would seem that labor is death. I see by the
Churchman that many of Bishop Kemper's new recruits have with-
drawn rather abruptly from positions so full of danger, and which in
no respect, I presume, can be regarded as inviting fields of duty.
Unless the sons of the soil can be educated on the spot for the work,
I fear there will be but a small chance of a satisfactory supply for
the demands which the gi"eat west so urgently presents for meeting
her spiritual necessities."
At about this time he speaks of having received an intimation
that his services might be wanted in another part of the diocese, and
says, " I am perfectly satisfied that the western diocese has nothing
more inviting in its borders than this parish. I shall endeavor to
seek no other country, except a heavenly ; though not without the
secret longing to return one day to the familiar haunts of New Eng-
land." Tliis is followed by another characteristic passage : " I have