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Robert Crawford was a Congregationalist minister at the "Orthodox Society" in Deerfield, Massachusetts. The society had been formed in the 1830s in response to liberal trends in the Congregationalist church. Crawford was born in Scotland and migrated to Canada, where he worked as a canal worker. His experiences as a working man may be reflected in his diary. Although Crawford viewed the world through the eyes of a conservative believer in tradition, he seems sympathetic to the plight of the worker. Here he comments on the "conflict between capital and labor," perhaps a reference to the recent violence in Chicago known as the "Haymarket riot."