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Gordon, William (1728-1807) (DNB00)


GORDON, WILLIAM, D.D.(1728–1807), independent minister, was born at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in 1728, and educated for the dissenting ministry at an academy in Plasterers' Hall, London, under Zephaniah Marryatt, D.D. He began his ministry early in 1752 as assistant to William Notcutt at Tacket Street, Ipswich. On 31 July 1754 he was called to the co-pastorate, and ordained on 9 Oct. He resigned his charge, after a quarrel, on 3 June 1764, and was invited to a pastorate at Gravel Lane, Southwark, in succession to David Jennings, D.D. At Gravel Lane he remained until 1770, when his political sympathies induced him to remove to America, where he remained about fifteen years. In 1772 he was pastor of the third church at Roxbury, Massachusetts. For several years he is said to have acted as private secretary to Washington. A cabinet alleged to have been presented to him by Washington was offered for sale in London in 1854. He was afterwards pastor of a congregation at Jamaica Plain, and chaplain to the provincial congress of Massachusetts. He received the degree of D.D. from the college of New Jersey. He seems to have taken too active a part in politics, and 'some of his hearers borrowed money of him,' which was not repaid. Returning to London in 1786, he lived some time in Newgate Street with his brother-in-law, John Field (father of Henry Field [q. v.] and of William Field [q. v.]) He endeavoured to obtain a settlement at Hapton, Norfolk, intimating that he had abandoned politics, and could not be called 'a fire-hot bigot' in theology. He made some 300l. by the subscription to his history, most of which was written in America; he began his collections for it in 1776. In 1789 he became pastor of a congregation at St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. Resigning in 1802, he returned to Ipswich, where he preached occasionally, but was supported by a subscription among his friends. He lost his memory, which had been gradually failing, and died at Ipswich on 19 Oct. 1807, aged 79. He was buried in Tacket Street chapel yard. His portrait has been engraved. He married a sister of John Field. She became blind, and died on 18 Nov. 1816, aged 87, without issue.

He published: 1. An abridgment of Jonathan Edwards's 'Treatise concerning Religious Affections,' 1762, 12mo. 2. 'The History of the Rise … and … Independence of the United States … including … the late War,' &c., 1788, 4 vols. 8vo; containing useful transcripts of original papers. He was a contributor to the 'Protestant Dissenter's Magazine' in 1798 and 1799, and is said to have published sermons and pamphlets. The 'Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors,' 1816, erroneously includes him among those living in 1816.

[Monthly Repository, 1807, p. 610 sq.; Chalmers's Gen. Biog. Dict., 1814, xvi. 107 sq.; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. x. 144; Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff., 1877, p. 376 sq. (gives the inscription on his gravestone incorrectly); gravestone at Ipswich ]

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