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James Richardson (1817-1863) was an American essayist, lecturer, poet, and preacher.


"Rev. James Richardson was born at Dedham, Mass., May 25, 1817.... When only six years old, he used to play the preacher and try his hand at writing hymns. He early showed a passion also for drawing and music.... [Richardson] graduated at Harvard College in 1837.... [and] wrote articles for the "Democratic Review" and other leading journals...though his studies were frequently interrupted by ill health. He was afterward a clerk of the country courts, then a principal of a school in New Hampshire, and later still at the head of another near Providence, R.I. Entering the Divinity School at Cambridge, he spent three years in the study of theology, and graduated in 1845. Shortly after, he was ordained to the ministry in Southington, Conn.; and two years later became the pastor of the Unitarian Society in Haverhill, Mass. While here, he often lectured as well as preached, and took an active interest in the Temperance, Peace, and Anti-slavery Reforms. A return of bleeding at the lungs obliged him at length to give up his parish, and he went back to his paternal acres at Dedham.... His humane heart led him during the late war [the U.S. Civil War] to the hospitals at Washington; and the last services of this gifted essayist, lecturer, poet, and preacher, were ministries of care and devotion to the nation's wounded and suffering heroes at the capital of his country. Here he died, Nov. 10, 1863."

—Alfred Porter Putnam, Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith; Being Selections of Hymns and Other Sacred Poems of the Liberal Church in America, with Biographical Sketches of the Writers, and with Historical and Illustrative Notes (Roberts Brothers: Boston, 1875)


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