A nineteenth-century American fiction writer, he is best known for novels such as Margaret; Richard Edney and the Governor's Family; and The White Hills. Also a Unitarian minister, he published many of his sermons.
After graduating from Hopkins Academy (Hadley, Massachusetts) and Yale College, he entered Harvard Divinity School.
He served as the pastor of a church in Augusta, Maine.
He grew up in Westhampton, Massachusetts. He married Jane Elizabeth Williams in 1841.
He traveled to Concord, Massachusetts to meet Ralph Waldo Emerson after reading Emerson's "Epic Poetry" essay.