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Thomas Crosby
The First English Baptist Historian

     Thomas Crosby was a London Baptist of great influence in our denomination. He was married to a daughter of the celebrated Benjamin Keach. He taught an advanced school for young gentlemen. He was a Baptist deacon for many years, and he was selected to make the usual statement on behalf on the church when Dr. Gill was ordained the pastor of the church of which Mr. Crosby was a member.

     Mr. Stinton, the brother-in-law of Thomas Crosby, and the predecessor of Dr. Gill, had collected materials for a work on Baptist history, which was never published. These materials were given to Crosby. And he says, "That if the ingenious collector of the materials had lived to digest them into proper order, according to his design, they would have appeared to much greater advantage" (than in his book). When the Rev. Daniel Neal, a Congregationalist, was preparing his well-known "History of the Puritans," Mr. Crosby sent Mr. Stinton's materials to Neal, thinking that the history of the Baptists in England would necessarily be a part of the history of the Puritans. After keeping the manuscripts for several years, less than five pages of this third volume contained all that he said about the Baptists. This circumstance, and the unkind reflections upon the few Baptist ministers whose names he condescended to notice, furnished the reasons why Mr. Crosby wrote his "History of the Baptists." Bunyan, Kiffin, Keach, and Stennet failed, by their great positions, to persuade Neal to give them a place in his work, though all England knew them.

     Mr. Crosby's "History of the English Baptists," published in London in 1738, 1739, and 1740, is worth its weight in gold many times over. Like Ivimey's "History of the English Baptists", it is very scarce, and a copy of it brings a high price. Source.


[From William Cathcart, editor, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; reprint, 1988. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]

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