Arthur Cleveland Coxe

The Right Reverend

Arthur Cleveland Coxe

D.D., LL.D.
Bishop of Western New York
ChurchEpiscopal Church
DioceseWestern New York
ElectedAugust 19, 1864
In office1865–1895
PredecessorWilliam H. DeLancey
SuccessorWilliam David Walker
OrdinationSeptember 25, 1842
by Thomas Church Brownell
ConsecrationJanuary 4, 1865
by John Henry Hopkins
Personal details
Born(1818-05-10)May 10, 1818
DiedJuly 20, 1896(1896-07-20) (aged 78)
Clifton Springs, New York, United States
BuriedWashington Street Cemetery
DenominationAnglican (prev. Presbyterian)
ParentsSamuel Hanson Cox & Abiah Hyde Cleveland
SpouseKatharine Cleveland Hyde (m. Sept. 21, 1841)
Previous post(s)Coadjutor Bishop of Western New York (1865)
SignatureArthur Cleveland Coxe's signature

Arthur Cleveland Coxe (May 10, 1818 - July 20, 1896) was the second Episcopal bishop of Western New York. He used Cleveland as his given name and is often referred to as A. Cleveland Coxe.


He was the son of the Reverend Samuel Hanson Cox and Abiah Hyde Cleveland, but changed the spelling of the family name.[1] He was born at Mendham, New Jersey, May 10, 1818. On his mother's side he was a grandson of the Rev. Aaron Cleveland, an early poet of Connecticut. His parents moved to New York in 1820, and he received his education there.

Coxe was prepared for college under the private tuition of Professor George Bush. He entered the University of the City of New York, and graduated in 1838.[2] During his freshman year he wrote a poem, The Progress of Ambition, and in 1837 published Advent, a Mystery, a poem after the manner of the religious dramas of the Middle Ages. In 1838 appeared Athwold, a Romaunt, and Saint Jonathan, the Lay of the Scald, designed as the commencement of a semi-humorous poem, in the Don Juan style.

Coxe in 1841 became a student in the General Theological Seminary, New York. While at this institution he delivered a poem, Athanasion, before the Alumni of Washington College, Hartford, at the Commencement in 1840. In the same year he published Christian Ballads, a collection of poems, suggested for the most part by the holy seasons and services of his church. The volume went into numerous editions, so much so that "their place in American literature has long been secure."[3]

He was ordained deacon on June 27, 1841[4] by Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk in St. Paul's Chapel,[5] priest on September 25, 1842, at St. John's Episcopal Church (Hartford, Connecticut).[4] As a deacon he took charge of St. Anne's church, Morrisania, where he wrote his poem, Halloween, privately printed in 1842.

The Right Reverend Arthur Cleveland Coxe[6]

He then became rector of St. John's Episcopal Church (Hartford, Connecticut), from 1842 to 1854. While there he published a dramatic poem Saul: a mystery, of the same kind as his earlier productions but at much greater length. But it was condemned by reviewers including Edgar Allan Poe.[7]

He also published an Apology for the English Bible against revisions of the Authorised Version by the American Bible Society, and the work ultimately prompted the suppression of these revised versions. Here as elsewhere he was hostile to any revised translation of the Bible.[8]

Anglican Orders was a series of papers, originally contributed to the Paris journal, Union Chrétienne. An open letter to Pius IX (1869) was in answer to the brief convoking the first Vatican Council, and was widely read and translated into many languages in Europe. L'Episcopat de l'Occident was published at Paris in 1872 and contained a history of the Church of England and a refutation of Roman Catholic attacks.

He became rector of Grace Church, Baltimore, in 1854–1863. While there he was elected bishop of Texas, but declined. He received a doctorate in divinity from St. James College, Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1856; again from Trinity, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1868, and again from Durham University in the United Kingdom in 1888. He received a doctorate of laws from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, in 1868.

He was rector of Calvary Church, New York City, in 1863. Then he went to Trinity Church, Geneva, New York, on January 4, 1865. On January 4, 1865, he became bishop coadjutor to the first bishop of Western New York, and on April 5, on the death of bishop De Lancey, second bishop of Western New York. In 1868 he agreed to the division of the diocese, to create the diocese of Central New York.

During his time the diocese prospered. In 1868 there were 69 resident clergy and 76 parishes, and 6,296 families associated with them. The value of the church property was about $1m. In 1890 there were 123 resident clergy and 133 parishes, while the number of families was 16,699, and the property was worth $2.3m.

In 1872 the missions of the church in Haiti were placed under the control of his diocese. Late in the year he visited the island, consecrating a church, ordaining six priests and five deacons, holding a convocation of the clergy and administering confirmation to a large number of candidates. He retained the charge of the Haitian church until the consecration of its own bishop, James Theodore Holly, in 1874.

Bishop Coxe wrote spirited defences of Anglican orders.[2] He entered controversy with various contemporary Roman Catholic clergymen, such as Bishop Stephen V. Ryan of the Diocese of Buffalo, who, in 1880, published against Coxe Claims of a Protestant episcopal bishop to apostolical succession and valid orders disproved....

Among Coxe's own theological works were: The Criterion, (1866); Apollos, or the Way of God, (1873); and The Institutes of Christian History, (1887). He also translated a work by the Abbe Labord, on the Impossibility of the Immaculate Conception, with notes. He also edited the United States Ante-Nicene Fathers series of early Christian texts. Other works included Impressions of England (1855), originally contributed to his New York Church Journal.

Coxe designed the seal of Hobart College and the main administrative building of the college is named in his honor.

He died at Clifton Springs, New York on July 20, 1896, and was buried in Geneva, New York.[9] A memorial volume was in preparation at the time of the Buffalo Historical Society article.


  1. ^ Cleveland, A Compendium of American Literature, 1865, p.707
  2. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ Buffalo Historical Society article, p.356
  4. ^ a b Buffalo Historical Society article
  5. ^ The Bishops of the American Church, p.159
  6. ^ Image taken from The Bishops of the American Church p.158
  7. ^ Marginalia 39, quoted in Poe's works, vol. 3, 1875 'The Rev. Arthur Coxe's "Saul, a Mystery," having been condemned in no measured terms by Poe of "The Broadway Journal," and Green of "The Emporium," a writer in the Hartford Columbian retorts as follows... Latterly I have read "Saul," and agree with the epigrammatist that it "will do"-whoever attempts to wade through it. It will do, also, for trunk-paper. The author is right in calling it "A Mystery"-for a most unfathomable mystery it is."
  8. ^ Buffalo Historical Society article, p.358
  9. ^ "Bishop A. C. Coxe Dead". New-York Tribune. Buffalo. July 21, 1896. p. 7. Retrieved March 7, 2022 – via


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