Gordon, William

, an Anglo-American divine and historian, and minister at Roxburg in Massachusetts, was born at Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, in 1729, and educated at a dissenting academy in or near London. He was afterwards pastor of an independent congregation at Ipswich, where he officiated for several years. In 1772 he went to America, and settled at Roxburg. When the revolution commenced in America, he took a very active part against his native country, and was appointed chaplain to the provincial congress of Massachusetts. In 1776 he appears first to have conceived the design of writing the history of the revolution and war, and began to collect materials on the spot, in which he was assisted by the communication of state papers, and the correspondence of Washington and the other generals who had made a distinguished figure in the field. In 1786 became to England, and in 1788 published, in 4 vols. 8vo, “The History of the rise, progress, and establishment of the Independence of the United States of America.” This, however, is rajther a collection of facts, than a regular history, for the writing of which, indeed, the author had no talent; his style is vulgar and confused, and his reflections common-place. The best parts of it occur where he made most use of Dodsley’s Annual Register. The colouring he attempts to give, as may be expected, is entirely unfavourable to the English, nor does he endeavour to disguise his partialities. He is said to have published also some sermons; a pamphlet | recommending a society for the benefit of widows, another against the doctrine of universal redemption, and an abridgment of Edwards, “on religious affections.” He appears not to have returned to America after the publication of his history, but to have resided partly at St. Neots, and partly at Ipswich, at which last he died in 1807. 1


Supplementary vol. to the —Dict. Hist. 1812, which consists chiefly of American lives, probably contributed by an American.