Dr. SAMUEL CROXALL, was the son of Samuel Croxall, rector of Hanworth in Middlesex, and Walton upon Thames in Surrey, in the last of which places his son was born. He received his early education at Eton school, and thence was sent to St. John's college, in Cambridge. It is said, that while he was at the university he became enamoured of Mrs. Anna Maria Mordaunt, who first inspired his breast with love; and to whom he dedicates The Fair Circassian, in a bombastic style, bordering on prophaneness. Croxall was designed for orders, and had probably entered them when he published this poem, which made him cautious of being known to be the author of a piece so ludicrously written, and yet taken from a book which makes a part of the canon of scripture. The first specimen of this poem, under the title of Solomon's Song, chap. iv. appeared in Steele's Miscellany, 1713. The first edition of the whole poem appeared in 1720, when it might have been expected he had acquired more reverence for the scriptures, or respect for his profession.
Croxall had not long quitted the university before he was instituted to the vicarage of Hampton, in Middlesex; and afterwards, Feb. 1731, to the united parishes of St. Mary Somerset and St. Mary Mounthaw; in London, both which he held till his death. He was also chancellor, prebendary, canon residentiary, and portionist of the church of Hereford; in 1732 was made archdeacon of Salop and chaplain to the king; and in Feb. 1734 obtained the vicarage of Selleck in Herefordshire. He died at an advanced age, Feb. 13, 1752. Dr. Croxall, who principally governed the church of Hereford during the old age of bishop Egerton, pulled down the old stone chapel adjoining to the palace, of which a fine plate was published by the society of antiquaries in 1737, and with the materials built a house for his brother, Mr. Rodney Croxall. Having early imbibed a strong attachment to the whig interest, he employed his pen in favour of that party during the latter end of queen Anne's reign; and published Two original cantos, in imitation of Spenser's Fairy Queen, as a satire on the earl of Oxford's administration. In 1715 he addressed a poem to the duke of Argyle, upon his obtaining a victory over the rebels; and the same year published The Vision, a poem, addressed to the earl of Halifax. In 1720 he published The Fair Circassian, in 4to; in 1722, a collection of Fables of Aesop and others, translated into English, a work which continues to be popular, probably from its homely and almost vulgar style. He wrote all the dedications prefixed to the Select Novels, printed for Watts, 1729; and was the author of Scripture Politics, 1735, 8vo. This is an account intended for common readers of the historical part of the Old Testament. His latest publication was The Royal Manual; in the preface of which he endeavours to shew that it was composed by the famous Andrew Marvel, found among his MSS. but it was generally believed to be written by himself.
As a divine, Dr. Croxall seems entitled to little respect. He owed his preferments to his political services. He published, however, six single sermons, and while house chaplain to the palace at Hampton court, preached a sermon on a public occasion, in which, under the character of a corrupt and wicked minister of state, he was supposed to mean sir Robert Walpole, who had intercepted some ecclesiastical dignity which he wished to obtain. It was expected that for this offence he would have been removed from his chaplainship: but the court over-ruled it, as he had always manifested himself to be a zealous friend to the Hanover succession. To the list of his poems may be added, an Ode, inscribed to king George the First, on his landing to receive the crown; and Colin's Mistakes, formerly ascribed to Prior, but printed as Croxall's in Mr. Nichols's Collection. His having written the dedications to the Select Novels, printed for Watts in 1729, suggested to some bookseller to affix his name to a compilation called The Tea-table Miscellany, 1766.