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date: 15 November 2019

Johnson, William Samuellocked

(07 October 1727–14 November 1819)
  • Robert M. Calhoon

Extract

Johnson, William Samuel (07 October 1727–14 November 1819), lawyer and politician, was born in Stratford, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend Samuel Johnson, an Anglican clergyman, and Charity Floyd Nicholl, the widow of a wealthy Long Island lawyer. With a younger brother and three stepsiblings from his mother’s first marriage, Johnson grew up in a convivial, intellectually stimulating home made comfortable by his mother’s inherited wealth. His father’s success in making Anglicanism a respectable alternative to Congregationalism fostered amicable relations between Anglican and Puritan acquaintances. A philosopher as well as a churchman, Samuel Johnson taught—in opposition to Puritan childrearing practice—“indulgence” to children’s “intellectual curiosity, … candor, patience, and care” in moral and intellectual training. The recipient of this kind of nurture, William Samuel was also shaped by Connecticut’s culture of “steady habits” and by Anglican decorum....

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