1755 - 1814 Hymnal Title: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Author of "For forty mystic days, unknown to man" in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Richards, George, born near Newport, Rhode Island, circa 1755. For some years he was Purser and Chaplain in the United States Navy, and also taught a school in Boston. In 1789 he became an Universalist preacher, ministered at Portsmouth, New Haven, 1793-1809, and from 1809 in Philadelphia, where, his mind having given way under trouble, he died by his own hand, March 16, 1816. With S. Lane he edited the Universalist Hymn Book, published at Boston, 1792. This was one of the earliest collections of that body. It contained 49 of Richards's hymns. In 1801 he published A Collection of Hymns, Dover, New Hampshire, which contained 6 additional hymns by himself, and in 1806, also at Dover, a second edition of the same, greatly enlarged, with another 26 hymns.
Of these the following are in common use at the present time:—
1. 0 Christ, what gracious words. The Gospel Message. This hymn appeared in the Boston Collection, 1792, and is the best of the early Universalist hymns. In the Andover Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858, it is given as "Saviour, what gracious words." In this form and also in the original, it is found in several collections.
2. Long as the darkening cloud abode. Easter. This hymn in modern collections, as the Songs of the Sanctuary, 1865, No. 687, is composed thus: stanza i. and ii., 11. 1-4, are from Richards, and the rest of the hymn, 3 stanzas of 8 lines in all, is anonymous.
Additional hymns by Richards, from both the Boston and the Dover collections, are in modern Universalist hymn-books. [Rev. F. M. Bird, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)