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Jedediah Vincent Huntington



Jedediah Vincent Huntington, clergyman, novelist; born 20 January, 1815, in New York City; died 10 March, 1862, at Pau, France. He received his early education at home and at an Episcopalian private school. He entered Yale College and later the University of New York, where he was graduated in 1835. He then studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received his degree in 1838, but never practised his profession. During the three years following he was professor of mental philosophy in St. Paul's Episcopal school near Flushing, L. I., and at the same time studied for the ministry. In 1841 he was ordained a minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church, resigned his professorship, and became rector of the Episcopal church at Middlebury, Vermont. At the end of five years he resigned because of doubts about his religious position, and went to Europe. The next three years he spent mostly in England and in Rome. He left England apparently a firm believer in the Anglican theory of the "Via Media". The authority of Rome outside the British possessions he readily accepted. Soon after his arrival in Rome, however, he became convinced that his duty lay in recognizing the exclusive authority of the Catholic Church. On speaking of the subject to his wife, he was agreeably surprised to learn that she was of one mind with him. Accordingly they were both received into the Church in 1849. Returning to America he lectured before learned associations in several of the large cities. He became editor of the "Metropolitan Magazine", a Catholic periodical published in Baltimore, and later edited "The Leader" published in St. Louis; each proved a failure. His life was, however, a literary life, and fairly successful. His first publication was a book of verse. He made several translations from the French, one of which, Ségur's "Short and Familiar Answers to Objections against Religion," is still doing service.

But Huntington is best known as a writer of fiction. His novels were widely read and received considerable notice in the leading journals in America and England. The criticism was often harsh and at times justly deserved, especially in the case of his first novel "Lady Alice" and its sequel "The Forest". Probably the best of his works is "Alban, or the History of a Young Puritan", which is practically the history of his own life. His last work, which is best known and which is the only one reprinted, is "Rosemary, or Life and Death". The last few years of his life were spent at Pau, in the South of France, where he died of pulmonary tuberculosis in his forty-eighth year.

Records of the American Catholic Historical Society, 1905.

Matthew J. Flaherty.








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