Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Fessenden, Thomas

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FESSENDEN, Thomas, clergyman, b. in Cambridge, Mass., in 1739; d. in 1813. He was the son of Rev. William Fessenden, of Cambridge, and uncle to the first Samuel. After graduation at Harvard in 1758, he became pastor in Walpole, N. H., which charge he held from 1767 till 1813. He was author of “The Science of Sanctity” (1804), and “The Boston Self-styled Gentlemen-Reviewers reviewed” (1806). — His son, Thomas Green, author, b. at Walpole, N. H., 22 April, 1771; d. in Boston, Mass., 11 Nov., 1837. He was graduated at Dartmouth in 1796, and during his college term wrote a ballad, entitled “Jonathan's Courtship,” which was reprinted in England. He studied law in Vermont with Nathaniel Chipman, occupying his leisure in writing humorous poems and other papers for the “Farmer's Weekly Museum” of Walpole, of which Joseph Dennie was then editor. He went to England in 1801, as agent for a new hydraulic machine, which proved a failure and involved him in pecuniary difficulties. While in London he became interested in the construction of a patent mill on the Thames, in which enterprise he was completely ruined. At this time he formed the acquaintance of Benjamin Douglas Perkins, patentee of the metallic tractors, which he advertised in a poem in Hudibrastic verse, entitled “Terrible Tractoration,” in which he satirized the medical faculty, who opposed the use of these instruments (published anonymously, London, 1803). Hawthorne says: “It is a work of strange, grotesque ideas, aptly expressed.” The poem was enlarged and republished in New York in 1806 as “The Minute Philosopher.” He returned to the United States in 1804 and settled in Boston, but afterward edited the “Weekly Inspector” in New York for two years, and in 1812 began to practise law in Bellows Falls, Vt. He removed to Brattleborough, Vt., in 1815, and was editor of the “Reporter” there, but from 1816 till 1822 conducted the “Intelligencer” at Bellows Falls. In the latter year he established, in Boston, “The New England Farmer,” with which he remained connected till his death. He edited, also, “The Horticultural Register” and “The Silk Manual,” and published “Original Poems”; “Democracy Unveiled” (1806); “Pills, Poetical, Political, and Philosophical; prescribed for the Purpose of purging the Public of Piddling Philosophers, Penny Poetasters, of Paltry Politicians and Petty Partisans. By Peter Pepperbox, Poet and Physician” (Philadelphia, 1809); “American Clerk's Companion” (1815); “The Ladies' Monitor” (1818); and “Laws of Patents for New Inventions ” (1822). His last satire was a little poem, entitled “Wooden Booksellers.” See an article on Mr. Fessenden, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, included in the volume entitled “Fanshawe, and other Pieces” (Boston, 1876).