Cox, Samuel Hanson, Dd, Lld
Cox, Samuel Hanson, D.D., LL.D.
an eminent Presbyterian divine, was born at Rahway, N.J., August 25, 1793. His father, who died in 1801, was at that time engaged in a mercantile enterprise in New York city. He was descended from a family which in the 17th century had settled on the eastern shore of Maryland,; and was connected for several generations with the Society of Friends. He was educated at Weston, Pennsylvania, also received private instruction in Philadelphia, and was a law student in Newark, N.J. In the war of 1812 he served in a volunteer company of riflemen. He studied theology in Philadelphia under Dr. Wilson, was ordained in 1817, and soon after accepted the pastorate of Mendham, Morris County, N.J. In 1821 he removed to New York city as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Spring Street, and went from thence to Laight Street, on St. John's Park, in 1825. His congregation here was largely composed of the leading merchants of the city. During the prevalence of the cholera he remained at his post until stricken down by the disease.
Dr. Cox took a leading part in the foundation of the University of the City of New York, and in the literary conventions which were called to aid in its organization. He was appointed to open the instructions of the university with the late Dr. McIlvaine, afterwards bishop of Ohio, and delivered one of the two memorable courses of lectures in the winter of 1831-32, his department being that of moral philosophy.
In impaired health, Dr. Cox visited Europe in 1833, where a speech which he delivered at that time, at the anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London, gained him great distinction and opened the way to high honors aid attentions.
He was elected professor of pastoral theology in the Theological Seminary at Auburn in 1834, and accepted the position; but in 1837 he became pastor of the first Presbyterian congregation in Brooklyn, L.I., where he built a new church in Henry Street. For a long time, both in Brooklyn and New York, he maintained a position of great eminence with unvarying popularity. In 1845, Dr. Cox attended in London the Evangelical Alliance, of which he was a leading member, and on his return was exposed to peril of shipwreck on the coast of Ireland, when. the steamer Great Britain was stranded in the bay of Dundrum. In 1852, his health declining, he visited Nassau; but with so little good effect that, against the remonstrances of his people and the most liberal proposals on their part, he resigned his charge and retired to a pleasant property which they enabled him to purchase at Owego, Tioga County, N.Y. He considered his career as a pastor at an end, but frequently delivered lectures and sermons in New York for several years subsequently.
Dr. Cox for many years was professor of ecclesiastical history in the Union Theological Seminary of New York, and also presided for a time over the Female College at Le Roy. For the last twelve years of his life he lived in great retirement in Westchester County. He died there, October 2, 1880.
The anti-slavery sentiment predominant in England made a great impression on Dr. Cox during his visit there, and although he publicly defended his country while abroad, he soon after his return preached a celebrated sermonagainst slavery, which, although moderate in tone, drew upon him, as a conspicuous person, a great share of the violence with which the anti-slavery agitators were then visited. He was never identified, however, with their extreme measures, and afterwards took a leading conservative position on all questions connected with the South, which for a long time agitated the Presbyterian Church. In other questions which for a time divided that denomination, his theological standing was with the new school, of which he was a prominent champion; in the order and discipline of his Church, however, he maintained the highest and most thorough old-school position, so far as conformity to the standard is concerned. Although much criticised for personal eccentricities, and especially for a pompous Latinity of style, Dr. Cox has been generally recognised as a man of high character and commanding talents, of great boldness in expressing his strong convictions, and of singular power and magnetism as an orator. As a consistent Christian, his great purity and marked simplicity of character secured to him, through a long and useful life, the uniform respect of his fellow-men.
Dr. Cox wrote largely for the press. Among his publications were, Quakerism not Christianity (N.Y. 1833, 8vo): — Interviews, Memorable and Useful (N.Y. 1853, 12mo), etc. See N.Y. Tribune, October 4, 1880; N.Y. Observer, October 7, 1880; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.